- Expected Jun 16, 2020
An urgent and indispensable work, in the spirit of On Tyranny: two leading Constitutional scholars guide readers through the Trump administration’s assault on America’s founding document, explaining the grave threat to our democracy.
We hear the phrase, “Constitutional crisis,” with regularity now. But what does it mean exactly? In Unchecked and Imbalanced, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and legal scholar Edward J. Larson and leading Constitutional scholar Michael Stokes Paulsen persuasively argue that the Constitution’s carefully designed safeguards—the separation of powers, system of checks-and-balances, and legal accountability—have dangerously eroded during the Trump presidency.
When the executive branch exceeds its Constitutional authority without a Congressional or Judicial check, it puts our entire democratic system at risk—and this is exactly what the Trump Administration has done during Trump's first three years in office. Larson and Paulsen examine the president’s brazen abuses of power; the failure of the Constitutional safeguard of Impeachment; the misfiring of the Electoral College that allowed Trump to take office despite losing the popular vote (and evidently with the help of Russian interference); the confusing “Foreign Emoluments Clause,” which prevents federal officeholders from receiving gifts, money, or titles from foreign leaders; the unprecedented broadening of executive power, abetted by Trump’s Attorney General Bill Barr; and more. Their varying political persuasions—Larson is a slightly left-of-center moderate, while Paulsen is decidedly conservative—lend credence to their joint conclusions.
In this brief, compelling book, Larson and Paulsen illustrate how the Trump administration has circumvented the rule of law and done lasting damage to our Constitutional system. Finally, they offer a path forward for restoring order and fortifying America’s founding document. As they write, “America does not need something new; it needs to recall something old.”