The Rhetorical Presidency Meets the Drone Presidency

9 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2015 Last revised: 30 Oct 2015

See all articles by David Pozen

David Pozen

Columbia University - Law School

Date Written: September 30, 2015


This brief essay reflects on Kenneth Anderson and Benjamin Wittes's book "Speaking the Law: The Obama Administration's Addresses on National Security Law." It suggests that "Speaking the Law" overestimates the clarifying and constraining force of the executive branch's counterterrorism speeches, and that the legal policies they set out may be better understood not as a reticulated regulatory scheme, but rather on a common law model.

Keywords: national security law, international law, executive power, targeted killings, drones, detention, legal rhetoric

Suggested Citation

Pozen, David E., The Rhetorical Presidency Meets the Drone Presidency (September 30, 2015). New Rambler Review, 2015; Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-484. Available at SSRN:

David E. Pozen (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States


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