Address: Ford Hall
City: Louisville, Kentucky - 40292
Country: United States
Current Position: Chair and Professor of Political Science, University of Louisville (hired as Assistant Professor in 2002)Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia (2000-2001)PhD: Government, University of Texas at Austin (2000)BA: Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1992)Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
American Presidency And Executive Politics
Separation Of Powers
Constitutional War Powers
Research focus on US Constitutional Development and Separation of Powers, especially presidency, Congress, and judiciary on war powers, executive orders, and other unilateral-style presidential actions. Previous research includes the Line-Item Veto and other budget/legislative processes spanning the 1980s/1990s and related congressional lawsuits, as well as base-closing commissions and presidential trade authority.
Over the past four decades, members of Congress have filed 10 lawsuits challenging military actions abroad that were ordered or sustained by presidents without prior legislative consent. In dismissing these cases, federal courts told the plaintiffs to use their legislative tools to show disapproval of the actions already in progress. Under this logic, the House and Senate must have a veto‐proof supermajority to end an existing military engagement before a case can be heard on the merits. These precedents contrast with previous war powers cases initiated by private litigants, which focused on prior simple majority legislative authority for presidential action.
Is the United States Congress dead, alive, or trapped in a moribund cycle? When confronted with controversial policy issues, members of Congress struggle to satisfy conflicting legislative, representative, and oversight duties. These competing goals, along with the pressure to satisfy local constituents, cause members of Congress to routinely cede power on a variety of policies, express regret over their loss of control, and later return to the habit of delegating their power. This pattern of institutional ambivalence undermines conventional wisdom about congressional party resurgence, the power of oversight, and the return of the so-called imperial presidency. This book examines Congress's frequent delegation of power by analyzing primary source materials such as bills, committee reports, and the Congressional Record. The book demonstrates that Congress is caught between abdication and ambition and that this ambivalence affects numerous facets of the legislative process. Explaining specific instances of post-delegation disorder, including Congress's use of new bills, obstruction, public criticism, and oversight to salvage its lost power, the book exposes the tensions surrounding Congress's roles in recent hot-button issues such as base-closing commissions, presidential trade promotion authority, and responses to the attacks of September 11. It also examines shifting public rhetoric used by members of Congress as they emphasize, in institutionally self-conscious terms, the difficulties of balancing their multiple roles.
In the past forty years, Congress has dramatically changed its response to unpopular deficit spending. While the landmark Congressional Budget Act of 1974 tried to increase congressional budgeting powers, new budget processes created in the 1980s and 1990s were all explicitly designed to weaken member, majority, and institutional budgeting prerogatives. These later reforms shared the premise that Congress cannot naturally forge balanced budgets without new automatic mechanisms and enhanced presidential oversight. So Democratic majorities in Congress gave new budgeting powers to Presidents Reagan and Bush, and then Republicans did the same for President Clinton. Passing the Buck examines how Congress is increasing delegation of a wide variety of powers to the president in recent years. Jasmine Farrier assesses why institutional ambition in the early 1970s turned into institutional ambivalence about whether Congress is equipped to handle its constitutional duties.