In the months after the 2016 presidential election, Fordham Law Visiting Professor Corey Brettschneider envisioned writing a book that outlined how President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and actions directly opposed and undermined the U.S. Constitution he swore an oath to uphold. But conversations with his editor, family members, fellow academics, high school students, and Trump supporters calling in to a popular talk show program convinced the scholar to chart a different course.
Brettschneider’s book, The Oath and the Office: A Guide to the Constitution for Future Presidents (W.W. Norton & Company), is a historically rich and academically rigorous examination of the powers of the president, the meaning of “We the People” and the Bill of Rights, and checks on the president designed to educate seekers of the nation’s highest political office and average citizens alike. The book’s insights, contrary to Brettschneider’s initial designs, are not tailored to one president but instead reflect a timeless approach that seeks to rise above partisanship.
In a starred review, Kirkus declared The Oath and the Office “vital reading for all Americans” for its “pointed, cogent, and authoritative analysis of presidential policy and power.” The New York Times praised the book for its framing of how presidents should understand their constitutional role, saying “[t]his framing is one of its great virtues.”
Brettschneider is a visiting professor of law at Fordham Law and professor of political science and public policy at Brown.