Executing the Constitution

Putting the President Back into the Constitution

Edited by Christopher S. Kelley

Subjects: American History
Series: SUNY series in American Constitutionalism
Paperback : 9780791467282, 266 pages, June 2007
Hardcover : 9780791467275, 266 pages, July 2006

Table of contents


Christopher S. Kelley

 1. Public Law and the “Executive” Constitution
Richard M. Pious

 2. Venture Constitutionalism and the Enlargement of the Presidency
Ryan J. Barilleaux

 3. Executive Orders from Nixon to Now
Graham G. Dodds

 4. The Significance of the Presidential Signing Statement
Christopher S. Kelley

 5. Executive Privilege in an Era of Polarized Politics
Mark J. Rozell

 6. “The ‘Protective Return’ Pocket Veto: Presidential Aggrandizement of Constitutional Power”
Robert J. Spitzer

 7. Executing the Rhetorical Presidency: William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, and the Contemporary Face of Presidential Power 
Kevan M. Yenerall

 8. Unsettling the New Deal: Reagan’s Constitutional Reconstruction and the Rehnquist Court’s Federalism 
George Thomas

 9. Democratic Politics and Constitutional Creation: The Paradoxes of Presidential Policy toward the Judiciary
Kevin J. McMahon

10. The “Imperial Presidency” Triumphant: War Powers in the Clinton and Bush Administrations
Michael Cairo

11. Clinton’s Other Infidelity: Signing, Ignoring, and Disobeying Helms-Burton 
Patrick J. Haney, Maureen P. Haney, and Walt Vanderbush

Christopher S. Kelley

About the Authors

Draws attention to how American presidents have creatively interpreted the Constitution to expand the power of the executive branch.


Over the last thirty years, a great deal of attention has been paid to executive branch interpretation of the Constitution. Executing the Constitution focuses on the creative interpretation of constitutional powers to either expand executive branch policymaking or to shield its prerogatives. In analyzing and explaining the bold unilateral decisions presidents have made during and since the Vietnam War, this book draws attention to some dramatic changes in the executive branch that explain the development and use of such concepts as presidential signing statements, administrative clearance, unilateral foreign policy declarations, and executive privilege.

Christopher S. Kelley is Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Miami University.