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Unitary Executive and the Modern Presidency

Edited by Ryan J. Barilleaux and Christopher S. Kelley

Publication Year: 2010

During his first term in office, Pres. George W. Bush made reference to the "unitary executive" ninety-five times, as part of signing statements, proclamations, and executive orders.  Pres. Barack Obama's actions continue to make issues of executive power as timely as ever. Unitary executive theory stems from interpretation of the constitutional assertion that the president is vested with the "executive power" of the United States. In this groundbreaking collection of studies, eleven presidential scholars examine for the first time the origins, development, use, and future of this theory. The Unitary Executive and the Modern Presidency examines how the unitary executive theory became a recognized constitutional theory of presidential authority, how it has evolved, how it has been employed by presidents of both parties, and how its use has affected and been affected by U.S. politics. This book also examines the constitutional, political, and even psychological impact of the last thirty years of turmoil in the executive branch and the ways that controversy has altered both the exercise and the public’s view of presidential power.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

This book is the product of a panel convened on the titular subject at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA), held in Philadelphia in 2006. The theme of the convention? Power reconsidered. ...

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Introduction: What Is the Unitary Executive?

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pp. 1-14

The presidential nomination process of 2008 included questions and news reports about an issue that has not been present during a presidential election cycle since the 1976 cycle—questions and concerns involving the limits of executive power.1 This is because the Bush administration vigorously advanced a little understood theory of presidential power known ...

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The Unitary Executive: Ideology versus the Constitution

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pp. 17-40

Scholars in recent decades have promoted the theory of the unitary executive. According to their constitutional model, all executive powers are centered in the president and thus subject to that executive’s direct command and control.1 The model not only concentrates power in the presidency but attempts to insulate the president from checks and constraints from other ...

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Executive Unilateralism in the Ford and Carter Presidencies

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pp. 41-76

The assertion of executive power by the administration of George W. Bush has been a subject of much contention and the source of an intense amount of political heat. Even a cursory dip into the Internet reveals numerous articles, blogs, and quotes on the “extreme” and “unprecedented” nature of Bush’s unilateral executive actions, from warrantless wiretaps to ...

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The Unitary Executive and Review of Agency Rulemaking

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pp. 77-106

Beginning with the first administration under the Constitution of 1789, American presidents have sought to control policy formation and the actions of subordinates in the departments and agencies of the federal government. This search for control has largely been accomplished through the issuance of executive orders and presidential proclamations to individuals serving in the executive branch ...

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The Unitary Executive and the Clinton Administration

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pp. 107-122

The unitary executive and the George W. Bush administration may seem indistinguishable because Bush aggressively defended his actions by pointing to the provisions of the unitary executive. Unfortunately, that defense has led to the public perception that the unitary executive theory is intertwined with the Bush presidency without any consideration of the ...

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Foundations of the Unitary Executive of George W. Bush

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pp. 125-144

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Who could have imagined that the same conservatives who decried the powerful central authority of the federal government in the post-World War II era would, haltingly in the 1980s but more robustly in the post-September 11, 2001, world, become the staunchest ...

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The Unitary Executive and Secrecy in the Bush Presidency: The Case of the Energy Task Force Controversy

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pp. 145-162

The George W. Bush administration was especially aggressive in its efforts to defend and expand what it considered constitutionally based presidential prerogatives. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, certainly provided a powerful context in which an administration might seek to expand executive power. But Bush’s efforts to establish executive ...

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Warrantless Surveillance and the Warrantless Presidency

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pp. 163-187

On January 17, 2007, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chair of the Judiciary Committee, received a letter from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in-forming the senator that a week earlier, a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had issued an order authorizing “the Government to target for collection international communications in or out of the ...

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Aiding and Abetting: Congressional Complicity in the Rise of the Unitary Executive

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pp. 188-216

The sequence in the U.S. Constitution establishing Congress as the “First Branch” of the three branches of government is much more than numerical organization. Congress is “First” for a reason.1 The framers placed the legislature at the center of the republic. The legislative branch not only provided the vital link to the varied interests of the people but more ...

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Going Forward: The Unitary Executive, Presidential Power,and the Twenty-first Century Presidency

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pp. 219-230

In his first week in office, President Barack Obama took several actions emblematic of his power as chief executive. He issued executive orders that changed policy on funding international organizations that provide abortion counseling, on the detention and trial of prisoners held at Guant

Contributors

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pp. 231-232

Index

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pp. 233-242


E-ISBN-13: 9781603443784
E-ISBN-10: 1603443789
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603441735
Print-ISBN-10: 1603441735

Page Count: 247
Illustrations: 3 graphs. 3 tables. Index.
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Joseph V. Hughes Jr. and Holly O. Hughes Series on the Presidency and Leadership

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Subject Headings

  • Executive power -- United States.
  • Executive-legislative relations -- United States.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
  • United States -- Politics and government -- 21st century.
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