American Civil Rights Policy from Truman to Clinton: The Role of Presidential Leadership

By Steven A. Shull | Go to book overview

tually recommended no new policy initiatives. He admitted that it was a small step but argued that improving race relations would "be a central part of the work I do for the rest of my life" (wp. com. specialracerelationsreport). At the same time, Clinton made no statements regarding judicial actions in civil rights and favored expanding preferences to all economically disadvantaged groups. Despite diverse nominees to the judicial and executive branches, some would call Clinton's executive and judicial actions more symbolic than substantive.

The key question, of course, is whether legislative, budget, executive, and judicial actions by a president make a difference. Most such actions (perhaps apart from executive orders) do not create policy themselves but must be acted on (modified, adopted, and implemented) by other governmental institutions. Chapter 6 explores whether presidents get their way with Congress and the rest of the executive branch, and chapter 7 covers responses to presidential statements and actions from the courts and those outside government.


Notes
1.
One can find executive orders in the Federal Register, in the Codification of Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders, and in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents. The Codification ceased publication in 1989. Executive orders also appear on-line at www.nara.gov/fedreg/codhome.html.
2.
Flaxbeard ( 1983) asserts that as a result of the Reorganization Act of 1978, President Carter issued some executive orders that were administrative, such as calling for the reorganization of civil rights agencies. These executive orders were issued for the purpose of streamlining the bureaucracy. Reagan, too, made several purely administrative changes, and therefore it is debatable whether I should have used all of their orders in calculating the number of executive orders.
3.
The Washington Post National Weekly Edition ( May 5, 1986, 8-9) criticized Pendleton for fiery rhetoric and for "baiting" black leaders. Several excerpts from statements by Pendleton appear in the article.
4.
Those extensions were 1967 (PL 90-198), 1972 (PL 92-496), and 1978 (PL 95-444) ( Congress and the Nation, 2: 1969, 375, 3: 1973, 5:10; 5: 1981, 798).
5.
The data in Table 5.3 for Reagan and Bush also include well qualified and thus are not fully comparable.
6.
Shull ( 1993, 127) found that the relationship between number of policy statements and some presidential actions is moderately high (e.g., executive orders r = 0.470; legislative positions r = 0.723), whereas for others it is nonexistent (e.g., legislative requests r = 0.075).
7.
LBJ's focus on legislation seems natural because he was faced with a situation where legislative authority was needed for further government action.

-145-

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