Selected Working Papers (Dissertation)
Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions about any of these papers.
Abstract: This paper explores the ways in which the president strategically accounts for the courts when deciding how to exercise his power of policy implementation. Testing several alternative hypotheses that explore how the presidentís relative position to the courts could influence his use of executive orders, I find that the president issues more orders when he is ideologically distant from the Supreme Court. Conversely, I find that agencies, under presidential control, engage in less rulemaking when the president is distant from the Supreme Court and the D.C. Circuit. Taken together, these results suggest that the president may use executive orders as an alternative to more traditional forms of policy implementation, in situations when the courts are more likely to strike down agency actions.
Recent attention to presidential signing statements recognizes the legal and constitutional questions surrounding the use of this controversial power. Yet, scholarly research on this policy tool tends to ignore the role of the courts, instead focusing on presidential-congressional relations. I develop a formal theory of the presidentís decision to issue a signing statement in the face of constraints from the Supreme Court and test this theory with original data. Consistent with the theoryís predictions, I find that the president is more likely to issue a signing statement when he is ideologically aligned with the Court. Additionally, contrary to previous literature, the president is more likely to issue a statement when his preferences are aligned with Congress. Finally, I examine litigation over legislation and find that the Court is more likely to rule in favor of the presidentís position when he has issued a signing statement.