Andrew Rudalevige

Andrew Rudalevige is an associate professor of political science at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania and also teaches in the college's policy studies program.

Recent Articles

Another Holiday Tradition

President Obama yesterday unveiled this year’s version of a holiday tradition rather closer to presidents’ hearts than the lighting of the White House Christmas tree or the Easter egg roll on the South Lawn. Yes, it’s this year’s quietly released signing statement… This tradition took root when Pres. George W. Bush famously signed into law a bill banning torture, doing so on the Friday entering the 2005-06 New Years’ weekend, then releasing a signing statement that night on the White House website leaving to his executive discretion the decision whether to actually follow that law. This year’s edition – see here for text, here for the NYT summary – is in itself far less sweeping, though it deals with some of the same lingering issues of the war on terror, such as the treatment and trial of detainees. Here for instance is a ban on spending money to transfer terror suspects to the US. Obama notes his “intent to interpret and apply” such provisions “in a manner that avoids constitutional...

Madisonianism or Opportunism?

Matt Dickinson’s blog Presidential Power over the weekend updated us on an important legislative development (hard though it is to believe there could be a legislative development at present): the Senate’s odd bipartisan effort to require that all terrorism suspects be detained by the military and tried, if at all, by military tribunals rather than the civilian courts. As Matt notes, this would be true even if the suspect was an American suspect, captured on American soil. President Obama has threatened a veto. A New York Times editorial urged that he do just that about a month ago, on the grounds that it was a bad idea, but also that Congress was committing “an outrageous usurpation of executive authority.” Two quick thoughts. One, for nearly a decade – and as recently as the NATO intervention in Libya (though an “all’s well that ends well” attitude towards that adventure seems to have kicked in) – the left’s accusation has been that the president was usurping legislative authority...

Rick Perry, the Good Old Days

With Rick Perry now in 4th place in GOP polls, I wanted to share this reminder of his glory days in Texas gubernatorial politics before it was too late. The attached radio ad comes from his 2006 reelection campaign against former congressman Chris Bell. Perry won 39%-30% (with two strong independent candidates, bizarrely including Kinky Friedman , garnering 30% of the vote between them.) Part of Perry’s theme: “this ain’t Taxachusetts!” It’s a negative ad—it’s called MrWayTooLiberal after all—but it’s funny. On purpose, unlike the Perry campaign this time around.

Calling the Tune

The president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed”: is that a duty, or a power? Over time, with the growth of the executive branch and the American administrative state, “presiders” have become “deciders”: hence Elena Kagan’s famous law review novella “Presidential Administration,” a how-to guide of sorts. Kagan is now on the Supreme Court, of course, and yesterday had to deal with just this issue. A 2002 law allows Americans born in Jerusalem to place on their passports, as the place of their birth, “Israel.” President George W. Bush objected at the time, in one of his many signing statements, that this bound the executive branch to a diplomatic position it did not hold (U.S. policy is neutral on the provenance of Jerusalem) and should be under no obligation to assert. President Obama has affirmed this position. And so Menachem Zivotovsky (or rather his parents – Menachem was born in 2002) has now sued to uphold the plain text of the statute. The oral arguments for...

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