The Glorious Commander-in-Chief
Harvard Law School
August 6, 2008
Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 08-18
Harvard Law School Program on Risk Regulation Research Paper No. 08-4
I examine the executive's power as Commander-in-Chief (or "CINC") of the armed forces, and the resulting problems for constitutional design and interpretation. Drawing upon Machiavelli's analysis, I attempt to state an economy of glory: an account of the benefits and costs of executive glory-seeking, and an account of how glory-seeking motivations on the part of the CINC can best be harnessed to the public interest. I then ask how the American national constitution should be interpreted in light of the economy of glory. I conclude that the optimal constitutional regime is one in which the executive is constrained in initiating conflicts, but not constrained in carrying them out.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: president, war powers, national securityworking papers series
Date posted: August 7, 2008 ; Last revised: November 17, 2008
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