The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents

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Product Details

$22.95  $21.34
W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
5.8 X 1.1 X 8.3 inches | 0.95 pounds
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About the Author

Corey Brettschneider is a professor at Brown University, where he teaches constitutional law and politics. He has written for the New York Times, Politico, the Washington Post, and Time, and is the author of the book The Oath and the Office. He lives in New York.


An accessible and lively guide to the president's constitutional powers, essential reading for anyone who seeks to become president--or to hold in check those who do.--David Cole, national legal director, ACLU, and author of Engines of Liberty
Government of, by, and for the people only works when people understand how it works. Corey Brettschneider's book does a remarkable job of unpacking the modern presidency with precision. A joy to read, a must to understand.--Amy Gutmann, president, The University of Pennsylvania
An insightful and lively analysis of both the constitutional authority of the president of the United States and of the constitutional constraints imposed on that authority. This work is a critical reminder of the proper role of the chief executive in our nation's system of constitutional government.--Geoffrey Stone, author of Sex and the Constitution
No office in American government is more studied than the presidency and no figure in American politics is more closely watched than the president. Brettschneider provides the judgment of a renowned constitutional scholar, dramatic cases, historical sweep, a gift for clarity, and a sense of moral urgency. This is a foothold from which we can survey the dangerous course the presidency has taken and our responsibility as citizens to defend the constitution.--Nancy Rosenblum, Senator Joseph Clark Research Professor of Ethics in Politics and Government, Harvard University
Those who one day may find themselves behind the Big Desk in the Oval Office need to understand the limits of their power as well as its potential. Brettschneider's cogent and comprehensive user's manual-grounded in sophisticated legal and political analysis--is exactly the right place to start.--Gordon Silverstein, Assistant Dean, Yale Law School
[A] pointed, cogent, and authoritative analysis of presidential policy and power. [Brettschneider] offers a clear explanation of many complex issues. . . including the question of whether obstruction of justice is an impeachable offense. A clear-eyed, accessible, and informative primer: vital reading for all Americans.
'When the President does it, that means it is not illegal.' So said Richard Nixon. What then are the limits on Presidential action? Can the President of the United States pardon himself, fire anyone in the Executive Branch, or wage war without Congressional approval? Can California develop a foreign policy on immigration and sign international climate treaties? In an era of rising executive power, Corey Brettschneider provides an essential guide for citizens and aspiring office holders on the powers of the President and how the U.S. Constitution constrains that power.--Rob Reich, Professor of Political Science, Stanford University
Brettschneider's book, addressed to a presidential aspirant, begins with the question 'What do you need to know to be president?' The answer: 'Most of all, you need to know the U.S. Constitution.' This framing is one of the book's great virtues: It moves the focus away from the too-common and too-narrow question of what the courts might force a president to do in the name of the Constitution to the more capacious question of how a president herself should understand her constitutional role.