Theory of presidential power explored in new bookApr 16, 2010
The past, present and future of the unitary executive in presidential power are explored in a new book published by Ryan Barilleaux and Christopher Kelley, both political science faculty at Miami University.
While the unitary executive is often associated with the administration of George W. Bush, The Unitary Executive and the Modern Presidency, published by Texas A&M University Press, demonstrates that unitary executive is both older than the last presidency and likely to influence debates over presidential power for years to come. The unitary executive affects presidential signing statements, White House control over bureaucracy, the ability of the president to withhold “state secrets” from the courts and Congress, and the president’s power to conduct warrantless surveillance of American citizens. The controversy has roiled congressional debates about nominees to the Supreme Court and been the subject of questions posed to presidential candidates in the 2008 election.
Barilleaux and Kelley contend that this is an issue for our time, yet political scientists have not given it sufficient attention. “Only a few legal scholars have taken up this issue, but their analyses have not explored the political background and implications of unitary executive theory on presidential power,” said Barilleaux.
According to Kelley, their book fills that gap. “It covers all major aspects of the issue, including the origins and development of unilateral presidential power, its use by the Bush administration, challenges to it by Congress and others, and how presidential unilateralism will shape American government into the future.”
The volume features contributions from other Miami political science faculty, including Patrick Haney, Bryan Marshall and Melanie Marlowe.
Barilleaux, currently a professor of political science, was chair of the department from 2001-2009. He is the author or editor of seven other books on the presidency and American politics, as well as dozens of book chapters and articles in professional journals.
Kelley, who completed his doctorate degree at Miami in 2003, is an adjunct assistant professor of political science. He is the editor of Executing the Constitution (SUNY Press, 2006) and other works on the presidency. He is one of the nation’s leading authorities on presidential signing statements. His research on that topic has been cited by both the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee in the nomination of Samuel Alito to be a justice of the United States Supreme Court.