48 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2017 Last revised: 22 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 18, 2017
Federal obstruction of justice statutes bar anyone from interfering with law enforcement based on a “corrupt” motive. But what about the president of the United States? The president is vested with “executive power,” which includes the power to control federal law enforcement. A possible view is that the statutes do not apply to the president because if they did they would violate the president’s constitutional power. However, we argue that the obstruction of justice statutes are best interpreted to apply to the president, and that the president obstructs justice when his motive for intervening in an investigation is to further personal or narrowly partisan interests, rather than to advance the public good.
Keywords: President, Obstruction of Justice, Executive Power, Prosecutorial Discretion
JEL Classification: K1, K10, K14, K40, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Hemel, Daniel Jacob and Posner, Eric A., Presidential Obstruction of Justice (July 18, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3004876