Fiscal Times on Congress’s Role in National Security/Foreign Affairs Decisionmaking

Tim Homan wrote a piece discussing Congress’s role re: Ukraine and Syria and quoted some statements I made, arguing Congress should not be comfortable with the president acting alone.

Emergency Presidential Power Wins Crader Family Book Prize in American Values

I am thrilled to say that my book, Emergency Presidential Power: From the Drafting of the Constitution to the War on Terror, has been awarded the Crader Family Book Prize in American Values

Creationists, Cosmos, and the Balance Trap

I’ve enjoyed watching the new Cosmos show-an updated version of Carl Sagan’s classic.  The astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts the new show.  As I watched one show, I thought to myself “wow, this really exposes the intellectual bankruptcy of those (including some prominent elected officials, like U.S. Rep. Paul Broun), who describe themselves as “young Earth” creationists.”  Sure enough, creationists are complaining that Cosmos is biased because it provides no time for creationists to make their case.

I have written before about the “balance trap”, the false idea that there are two sides to everything.  Of course, sometimes there aren’t.  As Tyson points out, it would be absurd to have to give equal time to people who believe the earth is flat whenever you talk about the earth’s spherical nature.  It would be equally absurd to give creationists equal time when one discusses evolution.


Can Obama “declare peace” with Russia?

President Obama has (wisely, I believe, as a policy matter) ruled out military action against Russia.  But does he have the constitutional authority to make such a decision unilaterally?  I wrote about this in a piece posted at the National Constitution Center’s blog

A Case for Justice Ginsburg to Stay on the Court

Liberals may reflexively believe that it’s time for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to leave the Supreme Court.  She has had serious health problems (two bouts with cancer) and is over 80.  If she doesn’t retire now, they argue, Republicans could prevent President Obama from naming her replacement if she leaves the Court in 2016–and if she retires after 2016, there might be a Republican president in the White House.

Garrett Epps makes a persuasive case for Justice Ginsburg to remain on the Court.  In addition to the points he makes, it’s worth noting that you can never be sure of what you’re getting in a nominee to the Court–cases in point include Justice Souter (a disappointment to Republicans), Chief Justice Warren and Justice Brennan (same), Justice White (more conservative than most Democrats would like–e.g. on cases involving abortion rights and LGBT issues).  Liberals who want President Obama to pick Ginsburg’s successor could be disappointed.

Whatever you think of Ginsburg, hopefully you can join Prof. Epps in wishing her a long, happy life.  I join him in hoping that she has many years ahead of her on the Court.

Lou Fisher on the State Secrets Privilege and Its Dangers

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have (mis)used the state secrets privilege to shield controversial actions from scrutiny and deny relief to people subjected to extraordinary rendition and other abuses.  Lou Fisher has an excellent piece in the National Law Journal on one especially egregious case–it is also available here.

Recent blog posts on presidential power

Prof. Edelson discusses whether President Obama is really pushing the limits of presidential power, and why Republicans in Congress shouldn’t be pushing for Obama to act more like Putin: