The so-called “Imperial Presidency”—a term coined in the 1960s to describe the vast growth of presidential power in the 20th century—is back in vogue. An amorphous long-term war and a decade of flaccid Congresses have shone new attention on the executive’s unilateral exercise of authority.
That authority is indeed expansive, if not quite Caesarian. But it didn’t get that way overnight. The Imperial Presidency grew slowly, steadily, one political crisis and court decision at a time.
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