On Appreciating Congress: The People's Branch (On Politics)

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This book explains why Congress is the indispensable institution for safeguarding popular, democratic, and constitutional government. Even though its record over the past two centuries presents a mixed picture, the record of the other two branches is also decidedly mixed. The author has worked for Congress for the past four decades and writes from a perspective that intimately understands its shortcomings while appreciating its strengths. He contends that portraying Congress as so inherently inept that it must be kept subordinate to presidential or judicial power is misguided and uninformed. The Constitution looks to Congress as the first branch because it is the institution through which citizens at the local and state level engage in self-government. Although Presidents claim to be the national representative, they cannot substitute for the knowledge and legitimacy brought by members of Congress. Congress, after all, is the people's branch and this book restores it to its rightful claim.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Louis Fisher is a highly respected expert and author on the U.S. Congress and the U.S. Constitution. He has combined his considerable knowledge of both to analyze the role of Congress in America's constitutional system. His latest endeavor, On Appreciating Congress: The People's Branch, is a much needed and very informative book that explains why Congress is the indispensable institution for safeguarding popular, democratic, and constitutional government.'" —U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd

"For years Louis Fisher has distinguished himself as one of the foremost scholars of the U.S. Constitution and especially of the all-important Separation of Powers. I highly commend him for his steadfast defense of Congress the people's branch in this exciting new book and would hope that my colleagues in the House of Representatives and interested Americans take careful note of this important work." —U.S. Representative Ron Paul, M.D.

"This book offers a spirited defense of Congress from one of the leading authorities on the institution. Whether one agrees or disagrees with his conclusions, all readers will find this book to be an enormously insightful exploration of the underappreciated legislative branch in American politics." —Julian E. Zelizer, Princeton University

"Fisher presents an exhaustive and comprehensive overview of the role of Congress ... which serves as a critical foundation in understanding and appreciating the institution he so passionately admires.Highly recommended."—CHOICE

"Congressional scholars and citizens alike should meditate on Fisher's message and its long-term implications for democratic decision-making and legitimacy."—-Congress & the Presidency 38:3, 344-346

"[On Appreciating Congress] includes a very good discussion on judicial rulings that were harmful to civil and individual rights and were eventually overturned by congressional legislation. ... Fisher provides a compelling call for returning Congress to its place of eminence."—ForeWord Reviews

"Lou Fisher's On Appreciating Congress is a truly remarkable book. Fisher is one of the most astute observers of the interplay among America's national governmental institutions. After years of defending Congress's place in the constitutional system, he has written a penetrating, concise essay that offers a defense of Congress, appeals to legislators to defend the Constitution by exercising the powers of their institution, and shows citizens how their system of government requires a robust national legislature."—Steven S. Smith, Washington University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199945931
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2010
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,570,824
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis Fisher, a political scientist and specialist in constitutional law, is author of nineteen books, including, most recently, The Constitution and 9/11: Recurring Threats to America s Freedoms (University Press of Kansas 2008).

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Popular Government
Chapter 2: Facing Executive Power
Chapter 3: Interpreting the Constitution
Chapter 4: Protecting Minority Rights
Chapter 5: Congress at Risk
Chapter 6: Safeguarding Democracy
About the Author

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