Penn Calendar Penn A-Z School of Arts and Sciences University of Pennsylvania

GRAD WORKSHOP - Executive Power and Democracy

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Room 350, Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science and Economics (133 S. 36th Street)
Food provided / Free and open to the public

Tim Lundy (Columbia University, English and Comparative Literature)
"Ordinary Subjects of Tyranny: Practical Constitutionalism and Public Judgment in the Political Thought of George Buchanan"

Shany Winder (Fordham University Law School)
“Policymaking Powers of the U.S. Executive Branch”

The emergence of constitutionalism in the political thought of sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe is commonly considered in relationship to history, theology, and law, but less often in relationship to poetic fiction. TIM LUNDY examines the political thought of the Scottish humanist George Buchanan (1506-82) in the context of his two Biblical tragedies, Jephtha and The Baptist. Buchanan’s political thought was recognized as radical in its own day for the strong limits it placed on monarchical power and prerogative and the authority it vested in the people to restrain kings and depose tyrants. Lundy argues, however, that what is most interesting for the history of constitutionalism and democracy is Buchanan’s development of arguments for the perspective of the common people as a privileged site of political insight.

SHANY WINDER explores the analytical question of when it is appropriate, and when it is not, to embrace strong executive exercise of authority, and when is it legitimate for the executive branch to take ambiguous authority and push its boundaries, sometimes acting at the borderlines of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Winder pursues these questions vis-à-vis an analysis of two case studies. The first one is the climate change initiatives. Specifically, Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) implementation of the Clean Air Act (CAA) to address climate change through the Clean Power Plan (CPP) regulation. The second is the Obama administration's immigration initiatives. Winder argues that instead of asserting that “unilateral” executive branch action is either unequivocally good or bad, we need a more nuanced and sophisticated view of this difficult question.