Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Zelizer on The Conservative Embrace of Presidential Power

Julian Zelizer, Princeton, has a new essay, THE CONSERVATIVE EMBRACE OF PRESIDENTIAL POWER in the Boston University Law Review. Zelizer's essay appears in a special issue on The Role of the President in the Twenty-First Century, which includes contributions from Dawn Johnson, Neal Devins, John Yoo and others. Hat tip. Zelizer's essay begins:
The power of the presidency has become a contentious issue for the conservative movement. In recent years, many conservatives have been furious with their colleagues for accepting the growth of presidential power. However, this criticism ignores how deeply ingrained presidential power has become in the conservative movement since the 1970s.
During the past three and a half decades, a growing number of conservatives have embraced the presidency and have come to privilege this branch of government. While conservatives have traditionally justified their position by arguing that the presidency is often the best agent for achieving smaller and more accountable government, they have also recently relied on an aggressive and centralized presidency to advance their agenda. For many conservatives,
the congressional reforms that passed in response to Watergate dangerously eroded the power of the executive branch. Moreover, many conservatives view the reforms as symbols of what went wrong as a result of the 1960s. Furthermore, conservatives add that the gradual delegation of authority to independent agencies has resulted in unaccountable bureaucrats making big decisions that are beyond the control of elected officials.
Continue reading here.