Power and Constraint
The Accountable Presidency After 9/11
By Jack Goldsmith
(W. W. Norton & Company, Hardcover, 9780393081336, 336pp.)
Publication Date: March 1, 2012
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
Conventional wisdom holds that 9/11 sounded the death knell for presidential accountability. In fact, the opposite is true. The novel powers that our post-9/11 commanders in chief assumed — endless detentions, military commissions, state secrets, broad surveillance, and more — are the culmination of a two-century expansion of presidential authority. But these new powers have been met with thousands of barely visible legal and political constraints—enforced by congressional committees, government lawyers, courts, and the media—that have transformed our unprecedentedly powerful presidency into one that is also unprecedentedly accountable.
These constraints are the key to understanding why Obama continued the Bush counterterrorism program, and in this light, the events of the last decade should be seen as a victory, not a failure, of American constitutional government. We have actually preserved the framers’ original idea of a balanced constitution, despite the vast increase in presidential power made necessary by this age of permanent emergency.
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org