The National Commission on the Separation of Powers

The National Commission on the Separation of Powers

Members of the commission conducted a methodical and scholarly survey over two and a half years in order to examine "gray areas" where the separation of powers was not clearly delineated. In their report, the commissioners identified five areas where the branches of the government grapple from time to time for dominance, and made specific recommendations for future procedures in each. The group identified those "gray areas" as the office of independent counsel, the uses of inspectors general throughout the government, the doctrine of executive privilege, the issuance of executive orders, and the War Powers Resolution passed in 1973.


  • Howard H. Baker, Jr., White House Chief of Staff, 1987–1988; U.S. Senator (R-Tenn.), 1967–1985; Majority Leader, U.S. Senate, 1981–1985; U.S. Ambassador to Japan; Senior Advisor, Citigroup
  • Griffin B. Bell, U.S. Attorney General, 1977–1979; Senior Partner and Counsel, King and Spalding


  • R.W. Apple, Jr., Chief Washington Correspondent, New York Times
  • Lloyd N. Cutler, White House Counsel, 1977–1981, 1994; Partner, Wilmer Cutler & Pickering
  • William P. Barr, U.S. Attorney General, 1991–1993; Vice President & General Counsel, Verizon
  • Andrew H. Card, Jr., U.S. Secretary of Transportation, 1992–1993; White House Chief of Staff, 2001–2006
  • Lawrence S. Eagleburger, U.S. Secretary of State, 1992–1993; Chairman, International Commission on Holocaust-Era Insurance Claims; Member, Iraq Study Group
  • William Frenzel, U.S. Representative from Minnesota, 1971–1991; Chairman Emeritus, Ripon Society
  • Paul D. Gewirtz, Potter Stewart Professor of Constitutional Law, Yale Law School; Founder and Director, The China Law Center, Yale Law School
  • Juanita Kreps, James B. Duke Professor, Duke University; U.S. Secretary of Commerce, 1977–1979
  • Daniel J. Meador, Assistant Attorney General, 1977–1979; James Monroe Professor of Law, Emeritus, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Joshua I. Smith, Chairman and CEO of MAXIMA Corp; Chairman, U.S. Commission on Minority Business Development; Chairman and Managing Partner, The Coaching Group
  • Sander Vanocur, Domestic Correspondent, NBC News; Chief Diplomatic Correspondent, ABC News
  • William Webster, Director of the FBI, 1978–1987; Director of Central Intelligence, 1987–1991; Partner, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCoy

Commission Director: Kenneth W. Thompson, Director of the Miller Center, 1978–1998