Thinking About Presidents
Robert J. Delahunty
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)
University of California at Berkeley School of Law; American Enterprise Institute
Cornell Law Review, Forthcoming
UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 810864
U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 05-17
Why are some Presidents great and others not? Does their attitude toward the Constitution have anything to do with it? What do legal scholars have to contribute to presidential studies? This paper reviews and uses data from the book "Presidential Leadership" to suggest possible relationships between presidential success and their approach to constitutional interpretation. It argues that the formalist versus functionalist debate over the separation of powers has reached a stalemate, and that constitutional law can gain by study of political science approaches to the Presidency. It also suggests that presidential studies, which views reliance on a president's constitutional powers as a sign of failure, can gain new insights by examining a President's use of his formal legal authorities.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: presidency, presidential power, separation of powers, leadership
Date posted: October 25, 2005
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