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Boston University School of Law




Government in the United States has some serious problems. At the federal level, is the problem of gridlock. The United States Congress seems unable or unwilling to do anything about anything (although it must have done something to run up more than $16 trillion in debts). Forget about addressing problems such as global warming, income inequality, failing schools, economic stimulus or you name it. How bad is it, really? Has the United States become ungovernable, and is the Constitution to blame? In my view, it’s a mixed bag. Some aspects of the United States government work very well, others are disastrous and still others muddle along, could be better but function just fine. Further, it is difficult to pin some of government’s difficulties on any particular constitutional provision when the alternatives might be just as problematic. In this essay, I highlight examples in each of these categories and look at factors that might help us understand why things work as they do. Suggestions for change will be offered, often without considering political feasibility.


Later published in 94(3) Boston University Law Review 711 (May 2014).

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