Get access

The Law: Prerogative Power and Executive Branch Czars: President Obama's Signing Statement


  • AUTHORS' NOTE: Portions of this article will appear in our forthcoming book, The President's Czars: Undermining Congress and the Constitution (University Press of Kansas).

Mitchel A. Sollenberger is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Mark J. Rozell is a professor of public policy at George Mason University.


In his April 15, 2011, signing statement President Barack Obama implied that, as president, he may suspend laws, or portions of laws, and that he is not controlled by statutory language that interferes with his ability to receive advice from White House aides or other executive branch officials. This article analyzes the claim that presidents have the prerogative to wall themselves and their aides off from statutory direction and controls, and concludes that there is no constitutional or legal basis for such an understanding of the executive power.