In his authoritative text on the constitutional and legal foundations for executive power in the United States, Edward Corwin describes Article II on the presidency as "the most loosely drawn chapter of the Constitution." Similarly, in his well-known intellectual history of the presidency, Forest McDonald calls the article "imprecise, even muddled." And in his famous concurring opinion in the Korean War case Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson describes the effort to understand the president's constitutional powers as relying on "materials" (apparently including the text of the Constitution) "almost as enigmatic as the dreams Joseph was called upon to interpret for Pharaoh."
Gary J. Schmitt is a resident scholar at AEI. Joseph M. Bessette is the Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College.