Readers React: The ‘Vice’-featured unitary theory of executive power is a dangerous fraud

Christian Bale plays Dick Cheney, left, and Sam Rockwell plays George W. Bush in a scene from "Vice."
(Matt Kennedy / Associated Press)

To the editor: The unitary theory of executive power, which played an important role in the Oscar-nominated film “Vice,” is a fraud.

Only Congress may make laws, levy taxes, authorize spending and declare war. Only Congress may remove or discipline its members, and it has unlimited authority to remove any and all members of the executive and judicial branches from office.

Presidents have always tried to expand their power by exploiting the divisions within Congress, but the Constitution is clear: The legislature is the first branch among equals, and perhaps even greater.

This “unitary theory” is a highway to dictatorship. James Madison and other framers made clear that we were not to look at their intent, but only at the words on the page since the Constitution was the product of compromise.


Paul Malykont, Los Osos

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