Introduction: the impact of the 'War on Terror' on executive–legislative relations: a global perspective

Owens, J. and Pelizzo, R. 2009. Introduction: the impact of the 'War on Terror' on executive–legislative relations: a global perspective. The Journal of Legislative Studies. 15 (2-3), pp. 119-146.

TitleIntroduction: the impact of the 'War on Terror' on executive–legislative relations: a global perspective
AuthorsOwens, J. and Pelizzo, R.
Abstract

In democratic polities, constitutional equilibria or balances of power between the executive and the legislature shift over time. Normative and empirical political theorists have long recognised that war, civil unrest, economic and political crises, terrorist attacks, and other events strengthen the power of the executive, disrupt and threaten constitutional politics, and damage democratic institutions: crises require swift action and executives are thought to be more capable than parliaments and legislatures of taking such actions. The terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on 11 September 2001 and the ensuing so-called 'war on terror' declared by President Bush clearly constituted a crisis, not only in the United States but also in other political systems, in part because of the US's hegemonic position in defining and shaping many other states' foreign and domestic policies. Dicey, Schmitt, and Rossiter suggest that critical events and political crises inevitably trigger the concentration of (emergency) powers in the hands of the executive. Aristotle and Machiavelli questioned the inevitability of this process. This article and the articles that follow in this Special Issue utilise empirical evidence, through the use of case studies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia, Israel, Italy and Indonesia, to address this debate. Specifically, the issue explores to what extent the external shock or crisis of 9/11 (and other terrorist attacks) and the ensuing 'war on terror' significantly changed the balance of executive-legislative relations from t (before the crisis) to t+1 (after the crisis) in these political systems, all of which were the targets of actual or foiled terrorist attacks. The most significant findings are that the shock of 9/11 and the 'war on terror' elicited varied responses by national executives and legislatures/parliaments and thus the balance of executive-legislative relations in different political systems; that, therefore, executive-legislative relations are positive rather than zero-sum; and that domestic political contexts conditioned these institutional responses.

Keywordsexecutive – legislative relations and crisis; ‘war on terror’; constitutional balances of power and conditionality; emergency powers; executives; legislatures; decline of legislatures; ‘constitutional dictatorship’; legislative incapacity
JournalThe Journal of Legislative Studies
Journal citation15 (2-3), pp. 119-146
ISSN1357-2334
YearJun 2009
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/13572330902933284
Publication dates
Published2009

Related outputs

Rethinking crises and the accretion of executive power: the “War on Terror” and conditionality evidence from seven political systems
Owens, J. and Pelizzo, R. 2013. Rethinking crises and the accretion of executive power: the “War on Terror” and conditionality evidence from seven political systems. Asian Politics & Policy. 5 (3), pp. 321-336.

The resilience of democratic institutions in Britain, Australia and the United States under conditions of total war
Owens, J. 2012. The resilience of democratic institutions in Britain, Australia and the United States under conditions of total war. Australian Journal of International Affairs. 66 (3), pp. 330-348.

Congressional responses to the incoming Obama administration: continuity and change
Owens, J.E. 2009. Congressional responses to the incoming Obama administration: continuity and change. Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association. New Orleans, LA 06 - 11 Jan 2009

Bush and the Congress in the US "war on terror": rivals only sometimes
Owens, J.E. 2009. Bush and the Congress in the US "war on terror": rivals only sometimes. Conference on Assessing George W. Bush’s Legacy. Eccles Centre for American Studies (British Library) and Institute for the Study of the Americas (University of London), British Library, London 01 Mar 2009

Congressional acquiescence to presidentialism in the US ‘War on Terror’
Owens, J. 2009. Congressional acquiescence to presidentialism in the US ‘War on Terror’. The Journal of Legislative Studies. 15 (2-3), pp. 147-190.

Partisan polarization, procedural control, and partisan emulation in the U.S. House: an explanation of rules restrictiveness over time
Owens, J. and Wrighton, J.M. 2008. Partisan polarization, procedural control, and partisan emulation in the U.S. House: an explanation of rules restrictiveness over time. History of Congress Conference. George Washington University, Washington DC 29 May - 01 Jun 2008

Explaining congressional acquiescence in the US "war on terror"
Owens, J.E. 2008. Explaining congressional acquiescence in the US "war on terror". The Impact of the Post 9/11 WOT on Executive-Legislative Relations: A Global Perspective. Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland 17 - 18 Mar 2008

Bicameralism, strategic interaction and lawmaking within the contemporary congress: the US House and Senate in an era of polarised partisanship
Owens, J.E. 2008. Bicameralism, strategic interaction and lawmaking within the contemporary congress: the US House and Senate in an era of polarised partisanship. Bicameralism: Australia in Comparative Context. Parliament House, Canberra 09 - 10 Oct 2008

Qualified exceptionalism: the US Congress in comparative perspective
Owens, J. and Loomis, B.A. 2007. Qualified exceptionalism: the US Congress in comparative perspective. Journal of Legislative Studies. 12 (3-4), pp. 258-290.

Presidential power and congressional acquiescence in the "war" on terrorism: a new constitutional equilibrium?
Owens, J. 2006. Presidential power and congressional acquiescence in the "war" on terrorism: a new constitutional equilibrium? Politics & Policy. 34 (2), pp. 258-303.

Institutional competition and conflict in a separated system: the Congress, the Presidency and the Courts at the beginning of the 21st century
Owens, J. 2005. Institutional competition and conflict in a separated system: the Congress, the Presidency and the Courts at the beginning of the 21st century. Revue Francaise d'Etudes Americaines. 106, pp. 99-127.

Explaining party cohesion and discipline in democratic legislatures: purposiveness and contexts
Owens, J. 2003. Explaining party cohesion and discipline in democratic legislatures: purposiveness and contexts. Journal of Legislative Studies. 9 (4), pp. 12-40.

Late twentieth century congressional leaders as shapers of and hostages to political context: Gingrich, Hastert, and Lott
Owens, J. 2002. Late twentieth century congressional leaders as shapers of and hostages to political context: Gingrich, Hastert, and Lott. Politics & Policy. 30 (2), pp. 236-281.

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/909z9/introduction-the-impact-of-the-war-on-terror-on-executive-legislative-relations-a-global-perspective


Share this
Tweet
Email