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The President's Czars: Undermining Congress and the Constitution (Studies in Government and Public Policy) Paperback – April 27, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Government and Public Policy
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (April 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700618368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700618361
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,697,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Breaks new ground of fundamental interest to scholars in political science, public law, and public policy. . . . A major contribution to the fields of the presidency and constitutional law. --Louis Fisher, author of Defending Congress and the Constitution

An important and timely book that will become the definitive source not only for understanding, but also for resolving, the constitutional ambiguities of this phenomenon. --Robert J. Spitzer, author of Saving the Constitution from Lawyers

A carefully reasoned, well documented, and impressive piece of work that is sure to contribute to the national debate over executive power. --Andrew E. Busch, author of Reagan’s Victory: The Presidential Election of 1980 and the Rise of the Right

About the Author

Mitchel A. Sollenberger is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan–Dearborn and author of The President Shall Nominate: How Congress Trumps Executive Power. Mark J. Rozell is professor of public policy at George Mason University and author of Executive Privilege: Presidential Power, Secrecy, and Accountability.

More About the Author

Mitchel A. Sollenberger is assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

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Professors Rozell and Sollenberger write about a little known yet powerful group of people, Presidential Czars. In short, they are a group of people created by the President and are accountable only to him, not to the Congress. They receive no confirmation hearing in the Senate and generally do not testify in front of Congress either. The authors believe that this leads to problems in our system of separation of powers.

Many believe that Czars are a recent creation; however the authors trace their creation back to President Woodrow Wilson and World War One. For example, during World War One, Wilson created the Food Administration with future President Herbert Hoover at its head. The Food Administration, "...issued a food schedule that required people to not eat wheat on Mondays and Wednesdays, no meat on Tuesdays, and a variation of the two from Thursday to Sunday" p. 47 This is just one example of many that the authors give of Czars wielding enormous power with little or no Congressional accountability.

While tracing the evolution of Czars, the authors show that Congressional reaction to them has been feeble at best. With such little opposition, the creation of Czars as exploded with Presidents Bush 43 and Obama. For example, in the first pages of the book, the authors show how Kenneth Feinberg was "Pay Czar" for TARP and later was "Claims Czar" for the BP oil spill. In these positions, Feinberg controlled access to billions of dollars, without Congressional authorization. Feinberg was created by Obama and responsible to Obama, no one else. Such a situation raises serious separation of power issues.

One minor problem I have with the book evolves the number of acronyms in the book.
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