Emory Report
February 23, 2009
Volume 61, Number 21



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February 23
, 2009
Symposium examines presidential direction

By Liz Chilla

“The president cannot be a one-man band,” former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement said during the 28th annual Randolph W. Thrower Symposium, “Executive Power: New Directions for the New Presidency?”

“The president cannot discharge all of the various functions of the executive branch by himself, or someday, herself,” Clement said. “There has to be more than one person discharging the functions of the executive branch.”

Clement delivered the symposium’s keynote address on the “under-discussed” topic of internal separation of powers within the executive branch, as well as the role of the solicitor general’s office.

“For me, perhaps the most important aspect of this internal division is the separation of the policymaking function from the legal decision-making function,” said Clement, who served as solicitor general during the second term of the George W. Bush administration. He currently is a partner at King & Spalding in Washington, D.C., where he heads the firm’s national appellate practice.

This year’s Thrower symposium, held at Emory Law Feb. 12, examined different theories of presidential power, with a particular focus on the transition to a new president.

The event brought together distinguished panels of legal scholars and individuals involved in the country’s executive branch to discuss opposing theories, institutional design and the shift from one administration to the next.

Emory Law professors Victoria Nourse, William Buzbee and Robert Ahdieh participated in the day’s panel discussions, and professor Charles Shanor provided the closing remarks.

The Thrower Symposium is part of an endowed lecture series sponsored by the family of Randolph W. Thrower and hosted by Emory Law Journal and the law school.