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Article II of the Constitution vests the “executive power” in the President and directs the President to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” But do these provisions mean that only the President may execute federal law? Two lines of Supreme Court precedent suggest conflicting answers to that question. In several prominent separation-of-powers cases, the Court has suggested that only the President may execute federal law: “The Constitution requires that a President chosen by the entire Nation oversee the execution of the laws.” Therefore, the Court has reasoned, Congress may not create private rights of action that allow nonexecutive actors to sue and attempt to vindicate the “public interest in . . . compliance with the law.”


Work published prior to Prof. Litman joining the MLaw faculty.