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Combating the Shadow Government

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Presidents conference roomby Jay Sekulow, ACLJ

It is unmistakably clear that our federal government’s national security apparatus faces opposition from an ever-expanding and ever-ramifying network of individuals and groups that are prepared to subvert the Constitution, the rule of law and our national security interests in order to advance their own ideological precommitments.

One way to think of this network is a shadow government, a metaphor that has attained a progressively larger public profile over the past several months. This network denotes individuals and groups bound together by a common ideological worldview that takes precedence over norms of democratic governance.

To understand this issue more intelligibly, it is useful to define the term shadow government. Several related ideas and concepts undergird this term.

First, the term shadow government issues forth from the notion of a shadow cabinet. The term shadow cabinet originated out of parliamentary forms of government wherein the losing party in an election campaign appoints members of its party to “shadow” officials appointed by the ruling party. Members of the shadow cabinet are selected by party leaders to represent the party’s own political interests, a process that is advanced by publicly critiquing the policy agenda of the party in power.

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© 2017 American Center for Law and Justice

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