John YooOct 28, 2020
Defender in Chief
Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power
All Points Books 2020
John Yoo, the Emanual S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, has written what he terms a surprising defense of the actions of Donald Trump as president. In his new book Defender in Chief: Donald Trump’s Fight for Presidential Power (All Points Book, 2020), Yoo, who did not support Trump in 2016, argues that Trump has performed in a manner that the Constitution’s Framers would applaud. Trump has defended the constitutional functions of the Executive from congressional interference or encroachment, including in his use of the appointment power to the federal judiciary and his role as commander-in-chief of the military. He also defends President Trump’s actions regarding the statutory powers used to designate and fund a wall along the U.S. southern border, the administration’s efforts to reverse Obama’s immigration orders, popularly known as DACA and DAPA, and Trump’s exercising of the removal power for Executive branch officials. However, this work is more than a defense of Trump; it is a historical inquiry into the powers of the Executive as intended by the Founders and how that power has been used and threatened by other branches over the course of American history.
Ian J. Drake is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Law at Montclair State University. His scholarly interests include American legal and constitutional history and political theory.