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Act of Cincinattus

constitutional amendment for emergency presidential powers et cetera
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I would like to see an amendment to the constitution of the US that provided for emergency powers for the president of the US, but which included some well thought out checks and balances (my theme for this week).

Cincinattus, if I remember correctly, was drafted in the Roman days to be the leader, but he really didn't want to be in charge, did a good job and when the emergency was over, left.

If the president needs emergency powers, he could then request an Act of Cincinattus from the Congress, who would then vote on it. Upon approval (if given), an investigation is automatically launched into the cause of the emergency, a second investigation serves as a watch dog for abuse of presidential powers.

In general, I think it's foolish to not have a mechanism in place so that in the event of another national emergency that the US government can shift gears quickly and appropriately, without abuse of powers, to contend with that emergency.

talldave, Jun 07 2004

Order of Presidential Succession http://usgovinfo.ab...weekly/aa010298.htm
Better, more informative, less pop-up infested link than I posted previously. [jurist, Oct 21 2004]

Emergency Presidential Powers http://writ.news.fi.../dean/20020607.html
Commentary by a guy whom you'd expect to be intimately and reliably informed about issues of this sort, irrespective of partisanship or advocacy..from June 7, 2002, two years ago. [jurist, Oct 21 2004]


       //another national emergency// like an electoral candidate declaring themselves winner with the fewest votes?

The man's got too much power, rather than not enough.
neilp, Jun 07 2004

       The mark of democracy is when those in power act to limit the power they have. I remain uncertain how emergency powers are ever necessary, except in the very direst of circumstances (Britain during WWII, e.g.), and then I don't know how you can decide to limit them in advance.
DrCurry, Jun 07 2004

       And, besides, the principal reason we employ a Vice-President in the US is to become empowered in the emergency circumstances that you describe. (In other trying times, Supreme Court Justices, Senior Senators and House Speakers, and Congressionally Appointed Special Investigators have stepped to the forefront to deal with specific and limited-duration issues of importance to our nation when necessary. But the ultimate lines of succession of leadership are well-defined within the Constitution. [see 20th and 25th Amendments, and links appended. Gerald Ford might have been America's Cincinnatus.]
jurist, Jun 08 2004

       Okay, what we have here is a failure to communicate.....   

       During the 9/11 crisis some lousy legislation was passed because things needed to be taken care of right away. I would like to see that situation avoided by developing a nice mechanism for a well thought out emergency extension of powers in the event of a similar crisis.
talldave, Jun 16 2004

       Good idea. Not sure it's a halfbakery invention, and of course it won't fly in reality, but coupling special powers with an investigation into their necessity (and, if I could have my druthers, a timer) seems like good basic practice.
jutta, Jul 31 2004

       Cincinattus did the right thing because he was Cincinattus, not because of the law under which he operated; as far as I remember, Cincinattus, (who walked away from his dictatorship) was working under exactly the same constitutional provision as Julius Caesar (who decided, illegally, to retain his dictatorship for life).   

       You can't legislate the right man into the job.
pertinax, Jul 25 2007

       How about simply if you invoke special powers, there will be an election in 1 year and the voters will decide if it was warranted.
marklar, Jul 26 2007

       The media will decide if it was warranted, and the voters will simply ratify what the media has decided.
globaltourniquet, Jul 26 2007


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