From The Washington Post

Harris Public Policy Professor William Howell was featured in the Washington Post, sharing his views through a joint op-ed on the expansion of presidential power and the resulting threats to american democracy.

A photo of Professor William Howell

"The unitary executive theory provides a veneer of legal authority for an authoritarian-inclined president to engage in a range of anti-democratic behaviors. By the time George W. Bush had shown what the unitary executive could justify — torturing prisoners, surveilling ordinary citizens, ignoring congressional statutes —constitutional scholars were already pointing to presidents as the chief threat to American democracy.

With the rise of right-wing populism and the election of Trump in 2016, this threat was magnified by the accompanying transformation of the Republican Party itself, with its elites in Washington and around the country abetting Trump’s authoritarian behavior in office, protecting him against charges of inciting an insurrection, embracing his dishonest “stolen election” claims, passing dozens of new laws to restrict voting, and more. The Republican Party is now an anti-democracy party, and its future presidents — empowered by the unitary executive theory — threaten the fundamentals of the U.S. democratic system.

The two logics of presidential power, then, each rooted in the administrative state, have jointly given us a strongman presidency. Democrats have been complicit, but Republicans have pushed the trajectory beyond democratic bounds. It remains to be seen whether anything can be done about it," said the authors. 

Full coverage available at The Washington Post