In class we discuss the founding of America, and mainly what the founding fathers were most afraid of. As we know, at the beginning of American rule, many were wondering how America would fall. This lead me to explore the arguments of the Anti Federalists. These individuals were not considered the Founding Fathers, but played an integral part in the formation of the American republic. Some would argue these individuals had an equal or greater part in creating American ideals because of their beliefs in needing the Bill of Rights.
The AntiFederalists had a strong objection to the Constitution and how the Federal Government is structured. They were strongly against how the government gave a lot of power to the Executive Branch.
In Rich Rubino’s post, The U.S. Presidency is “Squinting Toward Monarchy”, Rubino explains what we are still doing to day to exalt the U.S. President as well as the ways we penalize the presidents we seem “unfit rulers.” Rubino states that,
“Today, the American Presidency is the kind of office Henry and Randolph warned us against, and the Congress is complicit in the perilous expansion of Presidential powers. Not since World War ll for example, has the Congress exercised its responsibility under Article 1, Section 8, and Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution to Declare War. Numerous times, Congress has abrogated its role in amending trade legislation by granting the President Fast Track Negotiating Authority, which affords the Congress only the option of an up-and-down-vote. Furthermore, after being ruled constitutionally impermissible by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1997, there are still efforts in the U.S. Congress to endow the President with the Line-Item-Veto, allowing [them] to veto specific provisions of a bill without vetoing the entire legislation.”
Because of these implications of governmental monarchical overreach that were placed in the foundation of the constitution, it makes sense that these rights given to the executive will be expanded as well.
Saikrishna Prakash said in a lecture with the University of Virginia School of Law that the “President Resembled King at Constitution’s Founding”
“…[T]his history does cast grave doubt on the common argument that the president should not be understood to have a particular power over officers or over foreign affairs or over any other subject matter because the framers were opposed to a monarchy and did not create one.”
This information that the President has too much power is inherently problematic because of the Founding Father’s inherent disdain with monarchical reign. This information challenges the arguments that the Anti-Federalists made.
Along with that, to challenge the Anti-Federalists, though the Executive Powers may have expanded, so did the reach of the Bill of Rights. This is integral information that is often forgotten when arguing against Executive overreach. The Due Process Clause allows for protection of the overreach of the government on the people. The California Senator Dianne Feinstein said that she, “feels that Americans have become indifferent over the destruction of the Bill of Rights and actions which some consider infringements upon the Fourth Amendment.”
All in all, this argument was placed at the founding of the country, and is still very much alive today.