By Mark Major
Presidential power, especially their unilateral authority, has been a fierce point of contention in the Obama era. Recently, 43 senators, all Republican, filed a friend-of-the-court brief challenging President Barack Obama’s, as they put it, “extra-constitutional assertion of a unilateral executive power” over immigration policy. The public, and many in the press, assume that the controversy centers on an executive order. This is incorrect.
In the case of Obama’s immigration reform, it deals with “prosecutorial discretion.” Regardless of the term, unilateral executive powers are a compelling, and long overdue, topic for national discussion. Despite this high level of attention to Obama’s unilateral actions on immigration, health care, and gun reform, we have little understanding of this unique presidential power. Continue reading Focus on research: Unilateral presidential power in an age of polarized politics