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Wed Feb 6, 2013, 08:21 AM

The Law: Presidential Inherent Power: The “Sole Organ” Doctrine

I posted this in another thread, but I'll repost it here for general consumption.

This past month I had to write a paper about a topic that dealt with presidential powers and I came across this article. I wasn't able to use it, but read it anyway just because it seemed interesting especially with some of the threads going on in various forums. It is a good read. Below I've copied the abstract and included a link to it on Google Scholar (.pdf file, free):

The Law: Presidential Inherent Power: The “Sole Organ” Doctrine


Library of Congress

The executive branch relies in part on the “sole organ” doctrine to define presidential power broadly in foreign relations and national security, including assertions of an inherent executive power that is not subject to legislative or judicial constraints. The doctrine draws from a statement by John Marshall as a member of the House of Representatives in 1800: “The President is the sole organ of the nation in its external relations, and its sole representative with foreign nations.” In dicta, the Supreme Court, in United States v. Curtiss-Wright (1936), cited Marshall’s speech to support an independent, extra-constitutional, or exclusive power of the president. When read in context, however, Marshall made no such claim.


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