Julian Mortenson, Professor of Law at the University of Michigan, is the author of a remarkable new article entitled "Article II Vests Executive Power, Not the Royal Prerogative," forthcoming in the Columbia Law Review and available on SSRN.
Recently, Benjamin Wittes spoke with the professor about the article, which Mortenson has been working on for years—as long as the two have known each other. The article explores the history of exactly three words of the U.S. Constitution—the first three words of Article II, to be precise: "the executive power."
Huge claims about presidential power have rested on a conventional understanding of these three words. Julian argues that this conventional understanding is not just partially wrong, or mostly wrong, but completely wrong, as a matter of history. And, he tries to supplant it with a new understanding that he argues is actually a very old understanding of what those words mean.
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