The Living Presidency's Imperial Beginnings
The Annual Walter F. Murphy Lecture in American Constitutionalism
Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash, James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law, Horace W. Goldsmith Research Professor, University of Virginia
Contrary to popular belief, the founders constructed an executive that was regal in all but name. The President, with authority over law execution, foreign affairs, and executive branch personnel, eclipsed every previous American executive. With the passage of centuries, a regal executive has become more regal still, exercising broad authority over war and over the interpretation of statutes. For many this is a cause of alarm. But we must remember that the President's co-equal branches are likewise far more powerful. All three branches are imperial in the sense of acquiring new powers.
This very special annual lecture celebrates the work of the late Walter F. Murphy, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence Emeritus, Princeton University, and his dedication to excellence in the study of American and comparative constitutional law theory. A decade after joining the Princeton faculty, Professor Murphy was named the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, succeeding Woodrow Wilson, Edward S. Corwin, and Alpheus T. Mason in one of the Nation's most prestigious Chairs.
Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash is James Monroe Distinguished Professor of Law and Horace W. Goldsmith Research Professor at the University of Virginia. Previously, he was Herzog Research Professor of Law at the University of San Diego School of Law and an associate professor at Boston University School of Law. He has been a visiting professor at the Northwestern University School of Law, the University of Chicago Law School, and University of Illinois College of Law. Professor Prakash was also a James Madison Program Visiting Fellow at Princeton University and Visiting Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Before entering academia, he clerked for Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court. Among his articles are "50 States, 50 Attorneys General and 50 Approaches to the Duty to Defend," published in the Yale Law Journal; "The Imbecilic Executive," published in the Virginia Law Review; and "The Sweeping Domestic War Powers of Congress," published in the Michigan Law Review. His new book, Imperial from the Beginning: The Constitution of the Original Executive, was just published this year by Yale University Press. He received his BA in economics and political science at Stanford University and his JD from Yale Law School. At Yale, he served as senior editor of the Yale Law Journal and received the John M. Olin Fellowship in Law, Economics and Public Policy.
- The Program in Law and Public Affairs