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Key Facts

Limiting Presidential Power: A Return to Constitutional Balance
The Branches of Government
The framers of the Constitution built in checks and balances to protect individual rights from being violated by a tyranny of the majority. They divided federal authority across three branches to limit each branch’s ability to abuse its power. Congress was created to be the deliberative, law-making body. The executive was to be the enforcer of laws. And the judiciary would resolve constitutional issues.
Presidential Power
Since the middle of the 20th century the executive branch has grown in power relative to Congress and the Supreme Court. Presidents now frequently use executive orders, rather than reserving such powers for Congress via legislative acts, to quickly carry out large policy goals.
Bringing Instability
Executive orders and regulations issued in one administration are quickly repealed by the next. And political parties have fewer reasons to compromise when they believe that the only way to govern is to win the presidency and act unilaterally. The result is political and legal instability that threatens our future prosperity and undermines the rule of law.
A Simple Solution
Returning each branch to its constitutional purpose would restore the checks and balances that are essential for protecting our individual liberties and promoting more responsible governance by both political parties.