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We live in extraordinary times. In the past year the Supreme Court of the United States has decided an election and installed a president. In the past ten years it has produced fundamental changes in American constitutional law. These two phenomena are related. Understanding the constitutional revolution that we are living through means understanding their connections.
The new occupant of the White House—we will call him “President” after he has successfully prevailed in an election conducted according to acceptable constitutional norms—has taken the oath of office and has begun to govern. But his claim to the presidency is deeply illegitimate. He and the political party that he leads seized power through the confluence of two important events that would have caused widespread outrage and produced vigorous objections from neutral observers if they had occurred in a third world country.
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