Michigan State University

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Kleinerman, Benjamin

Associate Professor

Case Hall
842 Chestnut Rd Room S311
East Lansing, MI 48825


Benjamin A. Kleinerman is Associate Professor of Constitutional Democracy at James Madison College, Michigan State University.  Professor Kleinerman received his B.A. at Kenyon College in Political Science and his PhD at Michigan State University in Political Science.  Professor Kleinerman is also a former Postdoctoral Fellow in the Program on Constitutional Government and a former Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program in Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.  His research currently focuses mostly on the relationship between executive power and the constitutional order.  He has published articles on this subject in Perspectives on Politics  (APSA), American Political Science Review, Texas Law Review and several edited volumes including Nomos and The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. He has also been invited to give talks at Yale University, the University of Notre Dame, Xavier University, Kenyon College, and the University of Cincinnatti.  Professor Kleinerman’s first book, The Discretionary President: The Promise and Peril of Executive Power published by the University Press of Kansas, has been reviewed in The New Republic and Political Science Quarterly.  He is currently working on a second book that continues the investigation of executive power currently titled, Becoming Commander-in-Chief: A Constitutional Success Story.  Professor Kleinerman teaches classes on both political thought and political institutions.  He has also published on other subjects including literature and politics and American political history.    



Professor Kleinerman presented a paper "Barack Obama: Becoming Commander-in-Chief," in February, 2015 at the University of Houston. 

Professor Kleinerman published an op-ed “Hobbes, Locke, RFRAs, and Wedding Photographers” in the Library of Law and Liberty. http://www.libertylawiste.org/2015/06/03/hobbes-locke-rfras-and-wedding-photographers/

Professor Kleinerman’s essay "Executive Power and Constitutional Necessity" appears in an anthology The Writings of Abraham Lincoln published by Yale University Press.

Professor Kleinerman co-authored (with Vincent Phillip Munoz) the article "Did Founders Create War Powers?" in the Weekly Standard and NPR.

Professor Benjamin Kleinerman has been appointed as Garwood Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University for 2011-2012.

Professor Kleinerman will present "The Constitutional Structure of Government: Separation of Powers and Checks and Balances" at the Montpelier Weekend Seminar in April.

Benjamin Kleinerman's book, The Discretionary President: The Promise and Peril of Executive Power is available September 2009 by the University of Kansas Press. In the book, Kleinerman questions what role discretionary executive power should play in a constitutional order, examining its ability to either save or destroy the Constitution. George W. Bush's use of the war on terror to justify the creation of a unitary executive, acting outside and even against the law, provides the catalyst for the study, which traces the dilemma from Hobbes through Lincoln. The book delineates the tough distinctions that citizens need to make between the necessary exercise of extraordinary powers and the dangerous aggrandizement of unnecessary power.

Professor Kleinerman presented a paper in February 2008, "'In the Name of National Security:' Executive Discretion and Congressional Legislation in the Civil War and World War I," at a conference at Princeton University, "The Limits of Constitutional Democracy"

Professor Kleinerman gave a talk at Kenyon College in October 2007 titled "The Politics of the Constitution."

Benjamin Kleinerman co-authored "'We Should See Certain Things Yet, Let Us Hope and Believe': Technology, Sex, and Politics in Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee" in the Fall issue of the Review of Politics on Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee. The co-author is Bernard J. Dobski, Assistant Professor, Assumption College.