US Government

Party Loyalty vs. the Constitution

December 5, 2019  • Institute Staff

“Are we in a constitutional crisis?” That was the question posed at an October talk in the series Conversations with Great Leaders in Memory of Preston Robert Tisch. Kenji Yoshino, the Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law, and Jeffrey Rosen, the president of the National Constitutional Center, discussed the conditions that lead to such a crisis—that is, a situation where the Constitution doesn’t provide a definitive answer to a problem of governance. While agreeing the nation is not yet in crisis, Yoshino said that the current impeachment proceedings could possibly lead to one, especially when political actors push for their agenda regardless of the consequences. He explained that the current polarized party system, something the framers of the Constitution did not anticipate, is a major disrupter to the US government’s division of power. When party affiliation is more important than institutions, he said, the division of power no longer functions as a security system.