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The Living Presidency


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About the Author

Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash is the James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Miller Center Senior Fellow at the University of Virginia. He clerked for US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the DC Circuit. He has been a James Madison Fellow at Princeton University and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.


"The modern presidency-inflated by Congress's dereliction of its duties and armed with modern technologies of mass communication-has disrupted the Madisonian equilibrium of America's constitutional architecture and weakened the rule of law. With this exquisitely timed book, Prakash explains how we arrived at today's urgent need to 'recage the executive lion.'"-George F. Will, author of The Conservative Sensibility
"Prakash has given us a refreshingly balanced understanding of the illegitimate expansion of presidential power throughout American history. Explaining that the Founders may well have intended a 'limited monarch,' he effectively and colorfully repudiates the dangerous idea that presidents can add to their powers without limitation. The current assertions of presidential power are indeed, in Prakash's words, 'a funhouse-mirror version of the Founders' presidency.'"-Russ Feingold, former United States Senator

"Everything this sort of book ought to be: it is smart, clear, full of important distinctions and thought-inducing observations, and has an unambiguous vision for how we ought to approach our constitutional framework."-David Murphy, Open Letters Review
"[A] trenchant debut on the subject of modern-day Oval Office overreach...Prakash chronicles the metastasis of presidential prerogatives over the past 50 years to encompass the almost untrammeled ability to declare war, make foreign policy, stop enforcing laws, and informally make new laws, all without constitutionally mandated congressional consent...A persuasive case against presidential usurpations-and for a more respectful reading of the Constitution."-Publishers Weekly
"Couldn't come at a better time...Prakash's book is well-written, well-researched, and dead-on in walking the reader through the history of the American presidency...He puts the presidency within the broader parameters of culture and political institutions-something that many books on the presidency fail to do."-Gary L. Gregg II, Law & Liberty
"With his usual clarity and pith, Sai Prakash explains why both progressives and conservatives should be more principled, condemning not only the expansion of executive authority, but the seizure of new authorities by Congress and the judiciary as well. Whether or not you agree with all his proposed reforms, anyone concerned about the growth of unbridled executive power must read this book."-Randy E. Barnett, author of Our Republican Constitution
"Many people imagine that free-form 'living constitutionalism' can be counted on to produce outcomes that they like. Sai Prakash's The Living Presidency warns that this is a mistake: without fixed constitutional meaning, based on text and history, we have no defense against unwelcome changes, such as an all-powerful executive. Prakash has produced a powerful critique of the living Constitution."-Michael W. McConnell, Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School

"A timely and challenging overview of the development of the modern presidency. Although his primary criticisms are directed at devotees of a 'living Constitution' who countenance 'informal' constitutional amendment, he is also critical of purported 'originalists' who have embraced presidential overreach. One need not agree with all of his arguments in order to recognize that Prakash has made an important contribution to an ever-more-vital national discussion."-Sanford Levinson, coauthor of Fault Lines in the Constitution
"A terrific book...As Prakash explains in detail, the modern president's power has vastly expanded relative to the prevailing conceptions of the Founding era."-Shalev Roisman, Lawfare
"This excellent volume conveys important constitutional history and highlights major contemporary constitutional problems."-Choice

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