Document Type



Master of Arts


Political Science

First Adviser

Beienburg, Sean


Scholarly research on the executive usurpation of legislative power often focuses on Presidents and executive branch officials acting beyond their statutory authority through executive action. I believe it is likewise important, however, to address how Presidents have acted unconstitutionally through the under-enforcement of policies. In this paper, I investigate and analyze the encroachment on legislative power through executive refusal to defend, enforce, or implement the law, with specific focus on the presidency of Donald Trump. The Take-Care Clause is recognized as a guard against the suspension and dispensation of Congressional Acts by requiring the President to execute all constitutionally valid Acts of Congress. However, there continues to be deliberate decisions taken by Presidents either to not enforce or selectively under-enforce laws to further a political agenda; the Controlled Substances Act and the Immigration and Naturalization Act represent two such case studies which I will explore in detail.