The Federal Legal Bureaucracy and Presidential Politics
Edited by Cornell W. Clayton
For years many citizens have complained that our national government is fettered by legions of inefficient, unaccountable, feather-nesting lawyers. These critics might be right about the numbers—there are nearly 40,000 lawyers employed by the federal government in every branch and at every level. But most of these professionals fulfill functions that are essential to or extremely valuable in running the machinery of government.
In this volume, Cornell Clayton and eight other authorities on public law and legal agencies explore the role that politics play in this federal legal bureaucracy—especially within the executive branch. They provide insights into the historical development, present status, future trends, and interrelations among the offices of the Attorney General, Solicitor General, Special Prosecutor, White House Legal Counsel, Office of Legal Counsel, and counsels in regulatory agencies like the EPA and the EEOC. All the essays highlight a common theme—the perpetual tensions and conflicts between executive-branch politics and the profession's principled independence.
“A useful collection of essays that provide an introduction to major legal actors in the executive branch of the federal government.”
—American Political Science Review
“Clayton's book is exciting because of the large research void it fills and because of the fascinating subject matter—the diverse role of lawyers who work for the federal government.”
—ChoiceSee all reviews...
“A provocative and penetrating study. There is more here about the politics of government lawyering than can be found anywhere else, and it should be read by legal practitioners and students of politics alike. It will provoke serious discussion and debate.”
—Phillip J. Cooper, author of Hard Judicial Choices: Federal Court Orders and State and Local Officials and Public Law and Public Administration
“This book offers the analysis of scholars who have done the most in examining the legal bureaucracy. Statutory rights and constitutional protections are shaped and defined to such a degree by attorneys in the executive branch that it is a breath of fresh air to see a volume illuminate the crucial work of these lawyers.”
—Louis Fisher, author of Constitutional Conflicts between Congress and the President and Presidential War PowerSee fewer reviews...
Readable and enlightening, these essays add much to our understanding of—and remove some of the tarnish from—this elite corps of legal experts. They should benefit anyone interested in the legal profession, presidential politics, administrative law, public policy, and bureaucratic politics in our nation's capital.