Academic journal article Presidential Studies Quarterly

The Law: Connecting Presidential Power to Public Law

Academic journal article Presidential Studies Quarterly

The Law: Connecting Presidential Power to Public Law

Article excerpt

The first American graduate school of political science, established at Columbia College in 1880, concentrated on the study of history, law, and philosophy. Students took classes in constitutional history, comparative constitutional law, comparative jurisprudence, private international law, comparative administrative law, and public international law (Hoxie et al. 1955, 305-6). The college created a department called Public Law and Government. It kept that name for years until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when it became the Department of Political Science. Political Science Quarterly, America's first journal of political science, invited manuscripts that explored the "Historical Statistical and Comparative Study of Politics Economics and Public Law" (Political Science Quarterly, 1886, front cover). The introductory essay treated politics, economics, and law as "interdependent." Investigating one, it advised, required investigating the others. "Choose which you will, the others are necessary auxiliaries" (Smith 1886, 8). A research project on government and public policy could not be pursued by excluding law.

The American Political Science Association, founded in 1903, adopted as its mission the scientific study of government, law, and administration. Of six distinct topics identified, two focused on comparative legislation and political theory. The other four were issues of law: international law, including diplomacy; constitutional law, including law making and political parties; administrative law, including colonial, national, state, and local; and historical jurisprudence (Proceedings of the American Political Science Association, 1905, 11).

Edward S. Corwin

As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Edward Corwin studied European politics and history, economics, Latin, French, mathematics, and constitutional studies. After taking a few years off to teach high school and work with Professor Andrew McLaughlin at the University of Michigan, he accepted a fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania to study under Professor John Bach McMaster and received his PhD in history in 1905 (Crews 1985, 4-6). From there he joined Princeton University as one of the new "preceptors" to teach students. At that time Woodrow Wilson served as president of the university. From 1909 to 1911, Corwin with his doctorate in history published articles in the Michigan Law Review and the Harvard Law Review. By 1911, he had become full professor and the highest-paid preceptor (Crews 1985, 11).

Among nonlawyers, Corwin's scholarly record in the field of public law and constitutional law is unparalleled. His 20 books include National Supremacy: Treaty Power vs. State Power (1913), The Doctrine of Judicial Review: Its Legal and Historical Basis and Other Essays (1914), The President's Control of Foreign Relations (1917), John Marshall and the Constitution (1919), The Constitution and What It Means Today (1920, but reprinted and updated regularly after that), The President's Removal Power under the Constitution (1927), The Twilight of the Supreme Court (1934), The Commerce Power Versus States Rights (1936), Court Over Constitution (1938), Total War and the Constitution (1947), The "Higher Law" Background of American Constitutional Law (which appeared in the Harvard Law Review in 1928-29 before being published in 1955), and The Presidency Today (with Louis W. Koenig, 1956).

Corwin's major work, The President: Office and Power, first appeared in 1940. A second revised edition appeared a year later. The third and fourth editions were published in 1948 and 1957. As he explained in the preface, the book "is primarily a study in American public law" (Corwin 1957, vii). He expressed concern about "a long-term trend at work in the world that consolidates power in the executive departments of all governments, first in the person of one individual, then in an 'administration' " (Corwin 1957, 304).

In addition to numerous articles in Harvard Law Review and Michigan Law Review, Corwin published in the Yale Law Journal, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Cornell Law Quarterly, New York University Law Quarterly Review, Boston University Law Review, American Bar Association Journal, Washington Law Review, New Jersey Law Journal, Notre Dame Lawyer, and New York University Law Review. …

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