Article

Andrew Jackson and Presidential Power

07/2008; DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.1158001

ABSTRACT This paper examines Andrew Jackson's role in establishing the foundations of the Presidency. He is generally considered by historians to have been one of the nation's most vigorous and powerful chief executives. He advanced a new vision of the President as the direct representative of the people. Jackson put theory into practice with the vigorous exercise of his executive powers - interpreting the Constitution and enforcing the law independently, wielding the veto power for policy as well as constitutional reasons, and re-establishing control over the executive branch. In the first of two great political conflicts of his time, the Bank War, Jackson vetoed a law that the Supreme Court and Congress both thought constitutional, removed federal deposits from the Bank, and fired cabinet secretaries who would not carry out his orders. In the second, the Nullification Crisis, Jackson again interpreted the nature of the Constitution and the Union on behalf of the people, and made clear his authority to carry out federal law, even against resisting states. Although he was a staunch defender of limited government, Jackson would confront head-on the forces seeking a weaker union and or a weaker Executive. His achievement would be to restore and expand the Presidency, within the context of a permanent Union. He would also spark resistance so strong that it would coalesce into a new political party, the Whig party, devoted to opposing concentrated executive power.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
181 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: At the outset of the administration of President Barack Obama, there is intense debate about whether to prosecute members of the former administration of President George W. Bush who allegedly violated a variety of penal proscriptions that protect human rights. This article first considers whether officers who were in command and control of the Executive Branch of the government of the United States during the Bush administration can be excused from criminal responsibility on charges of illegal torture, based on their claim to have acted in good faith reliance upon the advice of attorneys employed by the Department of Justice. Focus then turns to the accountability, if any, of those attorneys in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel who opined that so-called enhanced interrogation of persons in the custody of the United States was legally permissible. The answer to this question turns not on the doctrine of command responsibility (as many have presupposed), but on its logical converse - whether subordinate members of an executive branch of government are responsible as principals for the conduct of superior officers who relied on their opinions. Finally, the doctrine of the unitary executive is examined through the prism of the conclusions about legal responsibility reached on the first two questions. The projection of a “leadership principle” by John Choon Yoo and others into modern American scholarship and governance became the basis for putative criminality during the Bush administration. That principle, as conceived by its proponents, is patently repugnant to American constitutional republicanism. Until a court imposes punishment for criminal wrongs over a defense based upon it, the exercise of Presidential authority in times of crises in the United States will be likely to repeat the terrible mistakes of the all too recent past.
    09/2009;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We continue to live in a dangerous world. We are exposed to the risk that hostile states or terrorist groups with global reach might attack our civilian population or those of our allies using weapons of mass destruction. In such circumstances, it might seem natural for U.S. policymakers to consider preventive war as a possible tool for countering such threats. Yet in the current climate of opinion, such thinking would be controversial - in large part, no doubt, because of the continuing disputes over the normative, strategic, and legal wisdom of what has been called the “Bush Doctrine.”Preventive war, in appropriate circumstances, can be justified for reasons that are closely analogous to those usually offered to justify humanitarian intervention. The key difference is that in preventive war the intervenors protect their own populations, whereas in humanitarian intervention the intervenors protect the target state’s population. Although critics of preventive war tend to be sympathetic to humanitarian intervention, the underlying logic for both uses of force is substantially the same.In this Essay, we first explain what we mean by “preventive” war, and how it is distinguishable from “preemptive” war. Then we briefly consider whether, as critics of the Bush Doctrine allege, the War in Iraq was virtually unprecedented in the Nation’s history or was, instead, one of several major conflicts fought by the United States that could fairly be described as preventive wars. Finally, we shall recommend certain normative guidelines and criteria for policymakers to follow in deciding whether to initiate a “preventive” war.
    04/2009;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper identifies potential values deriving from the seemingly destructive, distracting health reform nullification movement. Both before and after passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, states engaged in various forms of resistance to the new law. The debate highlights the increased role of government in health care delivery and generates active deliberation of core values and public policy concerns.
    10/2010;

Full-text

View
3 Downloads
Available from