Our Chief Magistrate and His Powers

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9780890891469: Our Chief Magistrate and His Powers

Taft's 1916 publication, written from the unique vantage point of a former president who was later to become Chief Justice, is one of the most insightful descriptions of the presidential office ever written. In contrast to the views of his predecessor, Teddy Roosevelt, and his successor, Woodrow Wilson, the presidency as Taft envisioned it is decisively shaped by the president's duties to the law. Taft firmly rejected Roosevelt's and Wilson's assumptions that a law-governed presidency need be weak or unable to respond to national needs.

This classic work is once again available, with new material by constitutional scholar H. Jefferson Powell. Powell's extensive introduction places Taft's thinking in its original context and explicates the major themes in his discussion of the president and of the relationship between law and politics in American government. Endnotes by Powell supply commentary and bibliographical information to specific points in Taft's text.

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About the Author:

Jeff Powell has been a member of the Duke faculty since 1987. He teaches contracts and constitutional law and history in the Law School. His publications include Languages of Power (1991) (on early American constitutional history), The Moral Tradition of American Constitutionalism (1993), and The Constitution and the Attorneys General (1999), as well as book chapters and articles. Powell has served in both the federal and state governments, as a deputy assistant attorney general and as Principal Deputy Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice, and as special counsel to the Attorney General of North Carolina; he has briefed and argued cases in both federal and state courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States.

Review:

"This is a delightful little book, and Powell serves as a sure guide to its main theses." --Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2004

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