The University of Wisconsin Press | Fall 2013 - page 14

universit y
How do we make sure that presidents have enough power to respond to
national security emergencies—without jeopardizing the system of checks
and balances?
Can a U.S. president decide to hold suspected terrorists indefinitely without
charges or secretly monitor telephone conversations and e-mails without a war-
rant in the interest of national security? Was the George W. Bush administration
justified in authorizing waterboarding? Was President Obama justified in order-
ing the killing, without trial or hearing, of a U.S. citizen suspected of terrorist
activity? Defining the scope and limits of emergency presidential power might
seem easy—just turn to Article II of the Constitution. But as Chris Edelson
shows, the reality is complicated. In times of crisis, presidents have frequently
staked out claims to broad national security power. Ultimately it is up to the Con-
gress, the courts, and the people to decide whether presidents are acting appro-
priately or have gone too far.
Drawing on excerpts from the U.S. Constitution, Supreme Court opinions,
Department of Justice memos, and other primary documents, Edelson weighs
the various arguments that presidents have used to justify the expansive use of
executive power in times of crisis.
Emergency Presidential Power
uses the his-
torical record to evaluate and analyze presidential actions before and after the
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The choices of the twenty-first century,
Edelson concludes, have pushed the boundaries of emergency presidential
power in ways that may provide dangerous precedents for current and future
“Chris Edelson has successfully tackled a big and controversial topic with skill
and grace. His balanced, fair-minded work is a welcome addition to a literature
on presidential power in times of crisis that is often captured by partisans with a
cause.”—Michael Genovese, author of
Presidential Prerogative
Chris Edelson
is assistant professor of government at American University’s
School of Public Affairs. He practiced law in the District of Columbia and New
York and served as state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign in
Washington, D.C.
Of re l at ed int e re s t
Alfred W. McCoy
“A fascinating and disturbing book, pro-
viding the most authoritative account of
torture yet available and conforming to
the best traditions of scholarship.”
—Richard Falk, Princeton University
LC: 2011043916 HV 298 PP. 6 × 9
E-BOOK $14.95 T ISBN 978-0-299-28853-2
Critical Human Rights
 LC: 2013010416 JK
336 PP. 6 X 9
E-BOOK $16.95 T ISBN 978-0-299-29533-2
“Crisp writing and solid analysis.
Edelson covers military tribunals,
detention, the unitary executive
theory, warrantless surveillance,
torture, and the state secrets
privilege, concluding with President
Obama’s military intervention in
Libya. He explains how claims for
inherent and unchecked executive
power endanger individual rights
and constitutional liberties.”
the foreword by Louis Fisher
I...,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,...50
Powered by FlippingBook