Category: Uncategorized

Takeover document: Dick Cheney’s undelivered 1989 paper on presidential power and “congressional overreaching in foreign policy”

I’ve posted several primary source documents of interest in Power Wars on this blog, and it occurred to me that I should also make generally available an important primary source document that I dug up when I was writing my first book, Takeover, eight years ago. I had put this up on Document Cloud in 2012, but Google’s […]

Reactions to the surprising failure of my quadrennial presidential candidate executive power survey

Every four years, before Iowa and New Hampshire, I ask presidential primary candidates to answer a short set of hard questions (might be through a physical questionnaire, or verbally) laying out their understanding of the scope and limits of executive power. Generally the questions get at dilemmas in which the rules are murky and contested. […]

Eight things the Obama administration did not do because of legal concerns (at least in part)

One of my themes in “Power Wars” is how extraordinarily lawyerly the Obama administration has been in terms of personnel, mindset, and deliberative approach, in contrast to the extraordinarily un-lawyerly Bush-Cheney administration – for better and for worse. When I do book talks – like one last week at the CATO Institute – a recurring […]

More on my discussion with Stephen Griffin on Republicans and the Myth that Every President Since Nixon has Declared the War Powers Resolution’s 60-Day Clock to be Unconstitutional

Stephen Griffin and I have been discussing the myth that all presidents since Nixon have deemed the War Powers Resolution’s 60-day clock to be unconstitutional. (Griffin #1, me #1, Griffin #2, and now this from me.) In sum, we agree it’s a myth because Democratic presidents have taken the opposite position, but we disagree about […]

Republicans and the Myth that Every President Since Nixon has Declared the War Powers Resolution’s 60-Day Clock to be Unconstitutional

Last week, over at Balkinization, Stephen Griffin took issue with a brief passage in my book Power Wars. In chapter 12, I tell the story of the Obama administration’s internal fight and agonies over the War Powers Resolution’s 60-day limit for unauthorized hostilities during NATO’s 2011 air war in Libya. Congress appeared to be unable or unwilling to […]

All Kinds of New Info About Bergdahl-Taliban Deal, including excerpts from the HASC report

An important moment in Power Wars is the May 2014 prisoner exchange deal in which the United States sent five high-level Taliban detainees to live under monitoring and travel restrictions in Qatar to secure the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, America’s only prisoner of war in Afghanistan, who had been held in horrific conditions by […]

Mark Martins and the backstory to Hamidullin, the Russian Taliban sentenced to life in prison today

Today, Irek Hamidullin, a Russian army defector who joined the Taliban and was captured after a (spectacularly unsuccessful) assault on American and Afghan forces in Afghanistan in November 2009, was sentenced to life in prison after being convicted at trial before a civilian court last August. I report the very interesting background to Hamidullin case on pages 533-534 of Power […]

Gitmo endgame: may federal judges accept guilty pleas and impose sentences by remote videoconference?

In today’s article about Obama’s new Gitmo closure endgame of trying to drive down the number of detainees who would be brought to a replacement wartime prison on domestic soil, I mentioned that some lawyers for detainees (including Abu Zubaydah) want to strike plea deals with the government – but, for several reasons, only in the […]

Takeaways from my latest inside-the-Gitmo-closure-fight article

Here is my latest Gitmo story, surfacing the latest behind-the-scenes stuff on Obama’s fraught push to close Gitmo before he leaves office. Among the takeaways: Although Obama has twice said he wants the detainee population (currently 107) down to double digits by around the new year, there are currently no SecDef notices at Congress, so we’re at […]