Rexford G. Tugwell, a member of president Roosevelt's celebrated Brain Trust from 1933 to 1936, yesterday cited President Eisenhower's request earlier in the year for Congressional approval to intervene in the Middle East as an example of executive failure to assume power during national crisis.
Speaking before a near-capacity audience at the Littauer Center of Public Administration, Tugwell chided Eisenhower for not directly employing the special powers which the qualifying statements of the Constitution implicitly confer upon the chief executive in such special circumstances.
Referring to the unenumerated powers of the president as the constitutional "realm of silence," the former presidential advisor urged that the "rule of necessity" be tempered by the "rule of restraint."
He cited Roosevelt's attempted "packing" of the Supreme Court in 1938 and president Truman's seizure of the steel plants in 1952 as instances of presidential infringement on the powers of the legislature and judiciary.
Tugwell further qualified his remarks by noting that "successful forays into the no-man's-land of constitutional silence" need not be guides to the future. Only when executive precedents are formalized in constitutional amendments do they become permanent, he added.