Faculty Advisor

Haltom, Bill

Area of Study

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Publication Date

Summer 2011


Post-9/11 American politics has seen an unprecedented rise in presidential power and what has come to be known as the ‘imperial presidency’. The Bush Administration met with sharp criticism for its unusually strong interpretation of the unitary executive theory, which states that control of the executive branch should be vested solely in the president; certain administration officials argued that the unorthodox nature of the war on terror required that the president be granted absolute power under the unitary executive theory, devoid of usual legislative and judicial checks. Scholars are sharply divided over whether there is a constitutional basis for this argument. The purpose of this research paper is to diverge from the usual scholarly analysis of the unitary executive theory by bypassing constitutional arguments and instead examine the political philosophy upon which the theory is predicated, in order to construct a new approach to the unitary executive theory that better reconciles presidential prerogative with the Constitution.


University of Puget Sound