70 Fla. L. Rev. F. 51 (2018)
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Florida Law Review ForumGovernments and Legislation


Response to Richard H. Seamon, Dismantling Monuments

In Dismantling Monuments, Professor Richard H. Seamon defends President Donald Trump’s recent proclamations modifying the boundaries of two national monuments, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears, that Presidents Clinton and Obama each designated at the ends of their Administrations. Professor Seamon is not alone in making these arguments, as I am not alone in saying that Professor Seamon’s arguments, while well-intentioned, are wrong. He exaggerates the persuasive power of congressional silence. He elevates the importance of the statute’s original intent. Professor Seamon and I read the text and legislative history of the Antiquities Act differently—he sees unlimited presidential power, I see limits. But rather than engaging in hand-to-hand combat with Professor Seamon over who is right with respect to the specific arguments we each make, I think it may be more useful, certainly more interesting, to broaden the discussion to include: (1) the importance over time of an Act’s original intent; (2) the correct role of the Take Care Clause in the debate we are having; (3) the use of the interpretive canon of textual ambiguity to resolve our differences; and (4) the impact of his arguments on the separation of powers doctrine.
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