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The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic Hardcover – March 16, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0199765331 ISBN-10: 0199765332 Edition: 1st

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The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic + The Decline and Fall of the American Republic (The Tanner Lectures on Human Values) + Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199765332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199765331
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,180,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"A refreshingly straightforward case that the modern presidency is unconstrained by law--and that you should like it that way. Even those who...disagree vehemently with the latter proposition will find Posner and Vermuele's arguments provocative and challenging." --American Conservative


"Powerfully argued, this book is an important part of the debate over presidential power in the present world." --Choice


"Provocative." --American Prospect.org


"A thought-provoking book." -- Library Journal


"This is a book that will, for many readers, both illuminate and infuriate. It is the most full-throated embrace in recent years of the very important (and always controversial) jurisprudential theories associated with Carl Schmitt, particularly with regard to the accretion of power in the Executive Branch. If their views become widely accepted, American law--or at least the American legal academy--will never be the same again." --Sanford Levinson, author of Our Undemocratic Constitution


"This exciting, contrarian, and learned book challenges the core of liberal legalism." --Jack Goldsmith, author of The Terror Presidency


"In a relentlessly challenging attack on Madisonian pieties, Posner and Vermeule use contemporary examples to argue with verve and style that only politics can realistically check the inevitable dominance of the modern executive." --Charles Fried, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School


"Opponents of presidential power may be discomfited by Posner and Vermeule's argument that the imperial presidency is unavoidable in the modern world. Proponents of presidential power may be equally discomfited by the authors' argument that presidential power is constrained in practice by politics. Both sides will find it difficult to identify the cracks in a provocative argument with which everyone interested in the twenty-first century Constitution must contend." --Mark Tushnet, Professor of Law, Harvart Law School, and author of Why the Constitution Matters


"The title of Posner and Vermeule's book is as provocative as its argument, since the executive is, on their view, bound--but by politics, not law. If they are right, then standard courses in law school should be re-titled 'Constitutional Politics' and 'Administrative Politics', not to mention 'International Politics', and perhaps even moved out of the law schools and into political science departments. For that reason alone, there will be strong resistance to their book's central thesis, which is the mark of a highly successful work." --David Dyzenhaus, Professor of Law and Philosophy, University of Toronto, and author of Hard Cases in Wicked Legal Systems


About the Author


Eric A. Posner is Kirkland and Ellis Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, and is the author of The Perils of Global Legalism, Terror in the Balance (written with Vermeule), and Climate Change Justice, among other books.

Adrian Vermeule is John H. Watson Jr. Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and is the author of Law and the Limits of Reason, Mechanisms of Democracy, and Judging Under Uncertainty, and is the co-author with Posner of Terror in the Balance.

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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Martin Salvucci on May 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Spurred by the severity of the crises that bookended the Bush Administration, a growing cadre of left-leaning academic authors has unleashed a spate of popular monographs announcing inevitable fiscal, military, and political ruin. Chief among them, Bruce Ackerman's recent book, The Decline and Fall of the American Republic (2010), argues that the steady agglomeration of executive power threatens the fundamental nature of the American Constitution.

The much-anticipated publication of The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic (2011) marks the first book-length response to Ackerman's concerns, as well as the second book-length collaboration between Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule, after their outstanding Terror in the Balance (2007). Law professors at the University of Chicago and Harvard, respectively, Posner and Vermeule claim to offer a strong rejoinder to the pessimism of the likes of Ackerman, with whom both authors share a longstanding academic feud. Given the high quality of the authors' previous collaborations - to say nothing of the aforementioned personal drama - it is not difficult to understand why expectations for The Executive Unbound were so high.

Posner and Vermeule begin with the provocative premise that the American Constitution - on whose behalf founding father James Madison is posthumously elected spokesman - has failed. Madison is taken to represent a perspective the authors label liberal legalism, which holds that the rule of law is grounded upon a system of checks and balances that maintains a more-or-less equal separation of powers. But the separation of powers, Posner and Vermeule opine, requires that each branch of government - executive, legislative, and judicial - claim some genuine political power vis-à-vis one another.
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10 of 50 people found the following review helpful By IHARRISESQ on April 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THESE AUTHORS STATE THEIR OFF-THE-WALL OPINIONS AS ACTUAL FACTS, VIZ., THE SUPREME COURT IS A "MARGINAL PLAYER." THESE ERUDITE LAW PROFESSORS DON'T EVEN CALL THE MEMBERS OF THE SUPREME COURT "JUSTICES" WHICH IS THEIR REAL TITLE. THEY ADVOCATE ABANDONMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION AND ABOLISHMENT OF THE OTHER TWO BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT: THE CONGRESS AND THE JUDICIARY. THEY DEMEAN THE FOUNDERS AS HAVING MADE ERRORS IN ESTABLISHING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES. IF WHAT THEY ADVOCATE PREVAILED, WHAT WOULD PREVENT "THE IMPERIAL EXECUTIVE" FROM DECIDING TO REMAIN IN POWER PERPETUALLY WITH NO CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION AGAINST SUCH ACTION? THEIR SOLE SOLUTION FOR CORRECTING EXCESSES BY THE EXECUTIVE IS A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. THEY SHOULD REALLY READ ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE'S "DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA" WHICH THEY SHOULD HAVE READ IN HIGH SCHOOL, WHEREIN HE WARNS THAT THE BIGGEST DANGER TO DEMOCRACY IS THE TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE. MANY PEOPLE IN DEMOCRACIES AROUND THE WORLD, INCLUDING GERMANY, SELECTED BAD LEADERS. SEPARATION OF POWERS AND THE CONSTITUTION ARE THE ONLY HOPE FOR PROTECTION FROM THE TYRANNY OF THE MAJORITY, BUT THE AUTHORS ADVOCATE ABANDONING BOTH AS ILL-THOUGHT-OUT BY THE FOUNDERS. I SUSPECT THAT THESE AUTHORS' NEXT BOOK WILL BE WRITTEN TO PROVE THAT THE STATES ARE NO LONGER RELEVANT AND THAT THERE SHOULD ONLY BE A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. I RECOMMEND THAT YOU READ THE REVIEW OF THE BOOK BY HARVEY MANSFIELD, A PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT AT HARVARD, IN THE NEW YORK TIMES, SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011, BOOK REVIEW SECTION, AND SKIP READING THE BOOK.
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