When the Political Branches Clash

When the Political Branches Clash
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Relations with Russia may or may not be, as the President said, at an “all-time and very dangerous low”—the Cuban Missile Crisis called and wants its ominous superlatives back—but the good news is that constitutional conflict is at a recent high. Congress is acting as independently as it has in a long time, including periods of split partisan control.

With the just-passed sanctions law, legislators are asserting themselves in foreign affairs. The President's role in setting domestic policy has been reduced to recommendatory exhortation. From healthcare to Russia, there are ample reasons to debate the policy outcomes, but institutionally, what we may be witnessing is the separation of powers in our time. Amid the hot-potato blame games and the accusations of dysfunction, this is something to celebrate. The Constitution works.

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