The Columns

Is The Constitutional System Broken?

— by on September 17th, 2010

In his new book, James Madison Rules America: The Constitutional Origins of Congressional Partisanship, Washington and Lee politics professor William F. Connelly Jr. takes exception to Woodrow Wilson’s interpretation of Madison’s institutional framework. Discussing his views on Wilson and Madison this summer in an interview with alumna Amy Balfour ’89, ’93L, Connelly said that “what Wilson did not seem to appreciate is that the separation of powers both limits the abuse of power and provides for the effective use of power.”

This issue may well arise in Washington today, Sept. 17, when Bill participates on a panel of scholars at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The session is titled “Is Our Constitutional System Broken?” Bill will be joined by journalist and political scientist Kevin O’Leary, University of Miami political scientist Gregory Koger, and former congressman and current Aspen Institute vice president Mickey Edwards. Don Wolfensberger, director of The Congress Project, will be the moderator.

You can watch the panel live on the web beginning at 4 p.m. today by going to this page on the Woodrow Wilson site.

If you missed it, Bill’s book received a great plug in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, where author John Pitney Jr. wrote: “As political scientist William F. Connelly Jr. reminds us in his splendid new book, ‘James Madison Rules America,’ no party in the U.S. Congress is ever simply the ‘opposition.’ Like it or not, a Republican majority will have to work with the president to pass budgets and conduct the routine business of government.”