A Look Back at the Steel Seizure Case



During every national emergency, the system of checks and balances designed, as James Madison wrote in Federalist 51, to prevent a power grab by any of the three branches by giving each “the necessary constitutional means and personal motives to resist encroachments of the others,” comes under great pressure.1 After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the public looked to the President to take extraordinary measures. Congress quickly moved to expand executive powers to meet the emergency, confirming the view of a leading textbook on the presidency that “it has become the dominant institution in a system designed for balanced government.”2