The Obama Presidency in the Constitutional Order

A First Look

by Carol McNamara, Melanie Marlowe, Joseph Bessette, David Alvis, Andrew E. Busch, James W. Ceaser, Anthony Corrado, Joshua Dunn, Stephen F. Knott, Marc Landy, David K. Nichols

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9781442205307
  • 9781442205321
The Obama administration is shaping up to be one of the most consequential in recent American history. In this book, a diverse group of presidential scholars step back from the partisan debate to consider the first two years of the Obama presidency through the lens of the U.S. constitution's theory, structure, and powers. They ask how Barack Obama understands and exercises the President's formal constitutional and informal powers and responsibilities of the president, from foreign policy and public policy to his political leadership of the Democratic party and the nation as a whole. This timely first look at the Obama presidency establishes a constitutional yardstick of interest to scholars of the presidency, constitutional thought, and American political thought.

  • Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; March 2011
  • ISBN: 9781442205321
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: The Obama Presidency in the Constitutional Order
  • Author: Carol McNamara (ed.); Melanie Marlowe (ed.); Joseph Bessette (other); David Alvis (contrib.); Andrew E. Busch (contrib.); James W. Ceaser (contrib.); Anthony Corrado (contrib.); Joshua Dunn (contrib.); Stephen F. Knott (contrib.); Marc Landy (contrib.); David K. Nichols (contrib.)
  • Imprint: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9781442205307
  • 9781442205321

In The Press

The opposition between the founding and Progressive conceptions of the Constitution underlies this insightful ten-essay evaluation. The unifying thread relates how President Obama, with a Progressive preference for domestic over foreign policy and a "living constitution" philosophy, employs executive, judicial, and legislative power to attain greater economic equality. Obama uses features of the unitary executive such as signing statements and the Office of Management and Budget to manage agency rule making, but "has ceded to judges and lawyers" prerogatives relating to CIA oversight and terrorist interrogation policies. The inopportune political time inhibits the use of judicial power to establish "constitutional welfare rights," which is instead "half-heartedly" pursued via statutory interpretation. Obama emerges as a strong chief legislator, an agenda setter, and even a detailed mechanic in low-profile Jeffersonian "collusion" with his party, yet he is criticized among supporters for insufficiently promoting the "black agenda." The founding "constitutional space" to govern insulated from popular pressures collides with the Progressive popular leader. James Ceaser notes instances of demagogic rhetoric by Obama that would be proscribed by founding conceptions. In the most panoramic essay, Marc Landy describes Obama as more LBJ than FDR; he approaches domestic policy with a sense of urgency, but foreign policy with ambivalence.


About The Author

Carol McNamara is senior lecturer in the Political Science Department at Utah State University. Melanie Marlowe is a lecturer of political science at Miami University.