This paper will engage linguistic and historical analysis in an effort to discern the original public meaning of the phrase executive power as used in Article II of the United States Constitution. In light of significant modern controversy surrounding the proper limits of executive authority, an original meaning interpretation of this critical phrase will illuminate the executive’s function as it was commonly understood at the time of constitutional ratification. Part I will engage in a linguistic analysis of the phrase executive power, drawing primarily on corpus linguistic methodology surrounding the phrase’s Founding Era usage. Part II will analyze the history of Article II, with particular attention to the public discourse concerning the scope and reach of the British king’s powers. Part III will fuse these areas of analysis and propose a synthesized original meaning of the phrase executive power. And, finally, Part IV will consider the Supreme Court cases of Myers v. United States and Steel Seizure,12 seminal cases of executive power jurisprudence, as well as the public discourse surrounding those cases at the time of their being decided.
Eleanor Miller & Heather Obelgoner,
Effective but Limited: A Corpus Linguistic Analysis of the Original Public Meaning of Executive Power,
Ga. St. U. L. Rev.
Available at: https://readingroom.law.gsu.edu/gsulr/vol36/iss5/9