UC Law Constitutional Quarterly


Kevin Bohm


Direct presidential control of executive agencies is a contentious issue in administrative law. This note first presents an overview of Constitutional basics, before exploring the unique twist on traditional presidential control theories that now-Justice Elena Kagan proposed in her 2001 article “Presidential Administration.” Kagan’s justification for enhanced presidential control rests a novel statutory interpretation perspective and the notion that the President is uniquely qualified to impose his will on agency decision-making as he is politically accountable to the American electorate at-large. This note highlights the criticisms, from other prominent academics in the field, of relying on political accountability to justify such an expansive view of presidential power. Finally, this note begins to explore the legal and political trends that may have influenced the evolution of presidential control models, and may provide context to the recent shunning of further concentrated executive power, as articulated in “Presidential Administration.”