For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
— Newton’s Third Law of Motion
America’s Newtonian Constitution might again function according to Madisonian expectations if a provoked Congress regains its spine and self-respect, thereby returning our constitutional architecture to equipoise. But this is more to be hoped for than expected. Even without this, however, the institutional vandalism of Barack Obama’s executive unilateralism still might be a net national benefit. It will be if the Republicans’ 2016 presidential nominee responds to Obama’s serial provocations by promising a return to democratic etiquette grounded in presidential self-restraint. Not since the off-year elections of 1938, when voters rebuked Franklin Roosevelt for his attempt to pack the Supreme Court by enlarging it, has the electorate made constitutional equilibrium a central concern. James Madison, however, hoped institutional balance could be self-maintaining: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place.” Continue reading this piece here.