The Binary Executive?

Slate's blog on legal issues.
March 17 2008 3:02 PM

The Binary Executive?

We already knew that Vice President Cheney was comfortable arguing that his office was not part of the ... well ... the executive branch.   In arguing that an executive order covering the executive branch did not apply to the vice president, he seemed to be making an argument that was of a piece with the current chief executive’s penchant for secrecy.   But now the veep is at it again, and this time he’s taking his view of independence a bit further. In an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, Vice President Cheney—as president of the Senate—argues for a position in the D.C. gun control case that is at odds with the position taken by the solicitor general on behalf   of ... well ... the executive branch. (Suffice it to say, the vice president is somewhat less keen on the constitutionality of gun control measures than is the person representing the United States on behalf of the president). How is it that the man who constantly portrays himself as the keeper of the flame for the unitary executive seems so comfortable with there being a binary one?

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