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Monday, January 30, 2006

Presidential powers during wartime

For those among us (not me) who like to draw parallels between Abraham Lincoln and George Bush as justification for wire tapping U.S. citizens without due process, please see an in-depth article by Benjamin A. Kleinerman, entitled, "Lincoln's Example: Executive Power and the Survival of Constitutionalism." (PDF file, 17 pages, including footnotes and bibliography.)

Via the A. Lincoln Blog:

The gist of Kleinerman's argument is that Lincoln established a sort of middle ground between "constitutional dictatorship" and more libertarian ("Jeffersonian," in Kleinerman's words) conceptualization of executive authority. He based his actions on a doctrine of necessity that would greatly expand executive power temporarily, but called for an immediate return to normalcy as soon the emergency ceased. Kleinerman therefore argues that Lincoln provides a poor means by which to defend the current administration's expansion of power during the War on Terror.

The Kleinerman article appears in the Journal of the American Political Science Association (Dec. 2005).

About Kleinerman, there's a recent interview in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Unfortunately, the article requires a paid subscription to read it. His dissertation, "The place of executive power in the American constitutional republic (Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln)," can be found on Amazon. He's a presidential scholar and assistant professor at Virginia Military Institute. Other than that, I can't find any biographical information on him.

Mr. Kleinerman, if you're out there, we'd love to know more about ye. Er, you.

Posted by Marie at January 30, 2006 6:46 PM


Speaking of which, I've been told that the SJ-R will publish an "In My View" column I submitted on checks-n-balances and the danger our constitution and the rule of law are in.

It will appear tomorrow, Sat. Feb 4.

Posted by: Larry Stevens at February 3, 2006 5:29 PM

Excellent, Larry. I am looking forward to reading that.

Posted by: Marie at February 3, 2006 5:51 PM