Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 1 > Issue 1

Presidential Signing Statements and Separation of Powers Politics

Sharece Thrower, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Vanderbilt University, USA, sharece.d.thrower@vanderbilt.edu
 
Suggested Citation
Sharece Thrower (2020), "Presidential Signing Statements and Separation of Powers Politics", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 1: No. 1, pp 53-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/112.00000003

Publication Date: 10 Mar 2020
© 2020 S. Thrower
 
Subjects
Legislatures:Lawmaking,  Bureaucracy,  Congress,  Courts,  Executive politics,  Government,  Judiciary,  Law,  Lawmaking,  Presidential politics,  Public policy
 
Keywords
Executive powerpresidencyseparations of powerpolicymakingsigning statements
 

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In this article:
Introduction
Background
The Politics of Presidential Signing Statements
Data and Methods
Results
Discussion and Conclusion
References

Abstract

Research on presidential policymaking tends to mostly focus on the ways in which congressional actors shape executive decisions. Yet, the judiciary and bureaucracy are crucial in sustaining presidents' direct actions. Accordingly, this paper considers how both influence the use of signing statements through the president's desire to impact the interpretation and implementation of the law. By empirically testing Thrower's (2019) formal model, I find that presidents are more likely to issue constitutional signing statements when ideologically aligned with both the Supreme Court and Congress, i.e. when opposition from these two branches of government is less imminent. Building off theories of delegation, I also find that presidents are more likely to issue agency signing statements when bureaucratic drift is the most likely — that is, when the responsible agency is ideologically distant, independent, and granted sufficient discretion. Overall, this study demonstrates that both inter- and intra-branch dynamics are important for understanding presidential policymaking.

DOI:10.1561/112.00000003

Companion

Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 1 Special issue - The Political Economy of Executive Politics
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.