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Unitary Executive Theory
A Recipe For Dictatorship

"A deviant theory, inherently anti-American, with no place anywhere in our system of government."

By Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director - Internet Church Of Christ -
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First written January, 2006

The "Unitary Executive" theory is really just another name for the ancient "King With Advisors" form of government, widely used around the world for thousands of years in human history. The basic idea is that the King has the final authority and makes all the final decisions. He may consult with his advisors, but he is free to disregard their advice. He may look at the law, but he is not required to follow it. The role of the people is to go along quietly with whatever the King wants to do.

THE ESSENTIAL PROBLEM FOR US is that this Theory denies the authority of Congress, the Supreme Court, or anything else to interfere with the President's performance of his functions, however he chooses. Thus Congress and the Supreme Court become merely Advisors, with no authority over the President.

That is Dictatorship, the very thing the American Revolution was fought to eliminate. Thus we see that the Unitary Executive Theory is a deviant theory, inherently anti-American, and has no place anywhere in our system of goverment. - Details below.

Throughout history, the typical forms of human political organization have been the Family, the Tribe or Clan, the Kingdom or City-state, and the Empire, in ascending order of size, with each level having authority over the levels below it. These all can easily be understood to be varieties of the King-With-Advisors form, different only in their levels of organization. The King consults with his advisors, then makes decisions which must be followed by all of the people and organizations below him. And in most cases, the ultimate authority is believed to have come from the God(s), down to the King, then down to the People. So all of these forms are examples of the Unitary Executive theory.

Rules of conduct are needed, so laws develop over time, usually based on custom, usually with the consent of the people, guided by each person's innate sense of Justice. (The concept of Justice goes all the way back to earliest known Humanity, and all the way around the world to all known people, and has not changed. Justice is accomplished when each person receives what he is entitled to receive, according to the rules he has agreed to, impartially applied. The purpose of the Law is to administer Justice.) As needed, the King can establish new laws or simply organize and codify the existing laws. And as the Unitary Executive, the King has the authority to make whatever laws he chooses, even if his advisors speak against them, and even if the People don't want them.

When everything works well, the King-With-Advisors form of government, within the context of just laws, provides Justice and Happiness to the people, as shown in the Bible under the reign of "Good King Josiah," and elsewhere.

But sometimes the Kings are not so good. "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." Then Injustice and Unhappiness arise, and the people demand something better. This happened in England in the year 1215 when the Barons (essentially Chiefs) under the King felt that the King was abusing his authority, and they forced him to accept a bill of rights known as the Magna Carta. This document guaranteed that "all free men of our Kingdom," and their heirs, would have a certain list of rights "forever," and that nobody could take them away. This was a major break from the Unitary Executive theory, in that the authority of the Unitary Executive (the King) had been severely limited by those beneath him in authority. The Signing of the Magna Carta is still remembered today as a major milestone in the march of Humanity toward Liberty under Law.


An even greater break from the Unitary Executive theory occurred in 1776 when the English colonies in America declared their complete independence from the King and established their own form of self-government under a written Constitution. Under this Constitution (now our Constitution), the people were to govern themselves, with no King, through their elected Representatives to Congress. And a President was to be elected to faithfully execute whatever Laws Congress might enact.

In our Constitutional system, the authority flows from God, down to the People, then down to their elected Congress and the Supreme Court, then down to the President, whose job it is to execute the laws made by Congress, for the People. So the People are the King, and both Congress and the President are subject to the will of the people. The President has no legislative authority whatsoever; and the executive authority he does have is subject to direction and instruction by Congress at any time.

After the American Revolution in 1776, following our lead, much of the World began to move away from the Unitary Executive form of government, to some form of representative Democracy, roughly similar to ours. In country after country, Kings were replaced or severely restricted by elected legislative bodies like our Congress or the English Parliament.

But then, only a few years after World War I, the harshest, starkest modern example of the Unitary Executive theory emerged unexpectedly in Germany. Adolph Hitler outlined his basic Unitary Executive theory in his book MEIN KAMPF, ("My Struggle") written in 1921, prior to his rise to power. He called it the "Leadership Principle," or "Fuehrerprinzip." He completely denied the authority of the People and of their elected Representatives. And he claimed all power for the Leader (der Fuehrer), who is the Unitary Executive. Hitler said . . .

"The folkish State, therefore, has to free the entire leadership - especially the highest, that means the political leadership - from the parliamentary principle of the decision by majority, that means decision by the masses, in order to establish firmly in its place the right of the person."

"There must be no decisions by majority, but only responsible persons, and the word 'council' is once more reduced to its original meaning. At every man's side there stand councillors, indeed, but one man decides."

"The principle which once made the Prussian army the most marvelous instrument of the German people has to be some day in a transformed meaning the principle of the construction of our whole State constitution: authority of every leader towards below and responsibility towards above."

Source: MEIN KAMPF at, pages 669-670.

After Hitler came to power in January 30, 1933, he quickly put his Unitary Executive theory (Fuehrerprinzip) into practice. A dictatorship was imposed, and World War II was begun by him a few years later.

For more information about the Unitary Executive theory, please see &keywords=%22unitary+executive%22 and and q=%22unitary+executive%22&btnG=Google+Search.

And for a copy of the Constitution, please see

As applied to the United States, we have a Constitution which stands in the way of applying the fully-developed Nazi model of the Unitary Executive theory. But we can come close to it, even under our Constitution, if somehow the Congress and the Courts can be neutralized, except to rubber-stamp decisions made by the President. The first step would be to assert that the President has Constitutional authority over all parts of the Federal Government except those few parts which specifically belong to Congress or The Supreme Court; and that neither Congress nor the Supreme Court has any authority to interfere with whatever the President feels he needs to do, particularly in time of perpetual war, when his "inherent powers" are the greatest, in order to "protect us from our enemies."

This is already happening, as we now see in his Presidential statement of Dec. 30, 2005, where he blatantly announces that he denies his obligation to execute a duly-enacted Law, in this case the Anti-Torture rules recently passed by Congress and signed by himself. (Please see

Sadly for all of us, President Bush now has the opportunity to appoint yet another Justice to our Supreme Court. A majority on the Court, under our Constitution, has the power to overturn all Stare Decisis precedents, and interpret the Constitution any way it chooses. And if the President illegally sends the Federal Military to enforce the Court's decisions, who will be able to stop them?

Congress could keep this from happening, by not consenting to any Supreme Court nomination where the candidate supports the Unitary Executive theory. But Congress is fast asleep, oblivious to the danger, not wanting to rock the boat.

Judge Samuel Alito is a staunch supporter of the Unitary Executive theory, although he probably doesn't even know about its Nazi background. And he helped to develop the very "signing statements" applications that Bush used to subvert the anti-torture provisions, mentioned above. So there can be little doubt that he would be likely to do everything in his power on the Supreme Court to turn this dangerous theory into Law, by deciding cases in its favor. For instance, if Congress challenges Bush's authority to conduct wiretapping and torture, the case would go to the Supreme Court. And if Alito could assemble a majority on the Court, the Unitary Executive theory would be well on its way to becoming the Law of the Land, in all respects, by Supreme Court decision.

This would turn our President into a Unitary Executive Dictator and turn our Constitution upside down, re-establishing the exact kind of tyranny it was intended to prevent.

Related Links

Sen. Ken Salazar's speech, Jan. 26, 2006 opposing Alito - includes some excellent observations about Unitary Executive Theory.

The Unitary Executive: Is The Doctrine Behind the Bush Presidency Consistent with a Democratic State? By JENNIFER VAN BERGEN

Samuel Alito Would Transfer Authority From Congress To The President, Radically Changing The Government

Statement of Beth Nolan Before the Committee on the Judiciary United States Senate On the Nomination of Samuel A. Alito, Jr. to the Supreme Court of the United State

A Summary Of Unitary Executive Theory, And I\ts Implications


Blessings to you. May God Help us all.

Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director
www.Internet Church Of Christ -

Reference copy of this document is at

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Blessings to you. May God help us all.

       Rev. Bill McGinnis, Director -

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