Constitutional Conflicts between Congress and the President

Sixth Edition, Revised

Louis Fisher

Over three decades after its initial publication, Louis Fishers durable classic remains at the head of its class—a book that Congressional Quarterly called as close to being indispensable as anything published in this field. This newly revised sixth edition emphatically reinforces that sterling reputation.

Fisher dissects the crucial constitutional disputes between the executive and legislative branches of government from the Constitutional Convention through President Clintons impeachment battles to the recent controversies over President Bushs conduct as commander in chief. He ventures beyond traditional discussions of Supreme Court decisions to examine the day-to-day working relationships between the president and Congress.

“The preeminent treatise on the separation of powers, Fisher’s book is constitutional scholarship at its best. . . . Ought to be required reading for the president, for every member of Congress, and for anyone who seeks to understand the subtle complexities of a constitutional arrangement that formally separates legislative from executive powers.”


“Presents a set of issues, themes, questions, and arguments that will continue to be of fundamental interest to constitutional scholars in particular and political scientists in general.”

—George C. Edwards III, author of Presidential Leadership

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By analyzing a mixture of judicial pronouncements, executive acts, and legislative debates, Fisher pinpoints the critical areas of legislative-executive tension: appointment powers, investigatory powers, legislative and executive vetoes, the budgetary process, and war powers. He then examines these areas of tension within a concrete political and historical context.

To scholars, this book offers a comprehensive examination of the institutions and issues of public law. For practitioners, general readers, and students of American government, it demonstrates how constitutional issues shape and define current events.

The new edition covers for the first time:
* Obamas military decisions in Afghanistan and Iraq
* Military operations against Libya in 2011
* Threatened attacks on Syria in 2013
* Efforts to close Guantánamo
* Obamas recess appointments during a pro forma session
* Fast and Furious scandal: Holders contempt and Obamas executive privilege
* The growth of presidential czars
* Executive branch secrecy and lack of accountability
* State Secrets Privilege after 9/11
* Distinguishing between implied powers (constitutional) and inherent powers (not constitutional)
* Pocket vetoes and the growth of hybrid vetoes
* New developments in the Presidents removal power

About the Author

Louis Fisher, Scholar in Residence at the Constitution Project, previously worked for four decades at the Library of Congress as Senior Specialist in Separation of Powers and as Specialist in Constitutional Law. His many books include Presidential War Power, In the Name of National Security: Unchecked Presidential Power and the Reynolds Case,,and Military Tribunals and Presidential Power, winner of the Richard E. Neustadt Award.