The Obama War Powers Legacy and the Internal Forces that Entrench Executive Power
110 American Journal of International Law 680 (2016)
Boston Univ. School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-02
21 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2016 Last revised: 24 Mar 2017
Date Written: October 15, 2016
In exploring the Obama war powers legacy, this essay examines the systemic forces inside the executive branch that influence modern presidential decision-making and, barring a total reimagining of the executive branch, will operate on administrations to come. These mechanisms and norms fall broadly within two categories: (1) features that favor continuity and hinder presidents from effecting change, including both novel assertions of executive power and attempts to dial back that power; and (2) features that incrementally aggrandize such power claims. Together, these two sets of forces operate as a one-way ratchet, slowly expanding and ultimately entrenching executive branch power.
Keywords: obama administration, bush administration, trump administration, executive branch, presidential powers, executive branch lawyering, war powers, international law, military detention, targeting
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