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One of the more depressing aspects of recent constitutional history is the decline in institutional opposition between the branches of our Federal government.
Institutional opposition stems from the separation of powers described in the Constitution, in which the three branches of government exist as separate and co-equal institutions, each with their own prerogatives and responsibilities. If Congress were, for instance, to negotiate a treaty directly with a foreign power, the President should oppose the action on the grounds that Congress has usurped his rightful authority. Likewise, if the President attempted to take out a loan on behalf of the country, Congress should should rightly raise Hell. Whether the president and congress* agree on the substance of these issues should be irrelevant; the point is that each is wrongly poaching on the other’s territory.