Mariah Zeisberg

Assistant Professor
Political Science Department
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


5700 Haven Hall · 505 S. State St. · Ann Arbor, MI 48109 · CV



Research & Publications

War Powers: The Politics of Constitutional Authority (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, May 2013)

This book engages a central question of war powers scholarship today: whether the president, or Congress, has constitutional authority to take the country to war. I suggest that, rather than offering a single legal answer to that question, the Constitution's structure and values indicate a vision of a well-functioning constitutional politics, one that enables the branches themselves to generate good answers to this question for the circumstances of their own times. Constitutionally faithful behavior does not entail enacting the same constitutional settlement for all conditions, but instead requires the branches to bring their distinctive governing capacities to bear on their interpretive work in context.

Because the elected branches, not the Supreme Court, are the enforcers of constitutional meaning here, the book is also about the meaning of constitutional fidelity outside of the courts. Rather than relying on standards of legal normativity as a benchmark for assessing fidelity, the book advances a set of decidedly more "political" standards including, in the case of war powers, security need and institutional performance. The book's method reframes core controversies in the war powers literature: cases range from from the Mexican War and World War II to the Cold War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Senate Munitions Investigation of the mid-1930s, and Iran-Contra scandal.

to publisher · to purchase on

Book Conferences:

"War Powers" (joint with Stephen Griffin's The Longest War) Boston University Law Review Symposium. October 2014.

"War Powers" Georgetown University Law Center. September 2013. (open sessions. E-mail convener an RSVP)

“Constitutional War Powers” (Joint with Stephen Griffin’s book The Longest War). Tulane Law School. October 2013.



"Forced to be Free: Coercive Acquisition and Constitutional Imperialism" (manuscript) SSRN

"Frederick Douglass, Citizen Interpreter" (manuscript) SSRN

“Should We Elect the US Supreme Court?” Perspectives on Politics vol. 7 no. 4 (December 2009)

“A New Framing? Constitutional Representation at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center” Perspectives on Politics vol. 6 no. 3 (September 2008)

“Religious Freedom in Canada and the United States” (co-authored with Christopher Eisgruber) ICON International Journal of Constitutional Law (April 2006)

“Constitutional Fidelity and Interbranch Conflict” The Good Society vol. 13.3 (December 2004)


“The Relational Conception of War Powers.” Stephen Macedo and Jeffrey Tulis, eds., The Limits of Constitutional Democracy, Princeton University Press (2010) Link to


“Power and Constraint: The Accountable Presidency After 9/11” (by Jack Goldsmith) Tulsa Law Review (forthcoming 2013)

“The Politics of Constitutional Fidelity" (review of Jack M. Balkin, Living Originalism) University of Illinois Law Journal 2012 (3): 801-814 (2012)

“Democratic Processualism” (review of Stephen Elkin, Reconstructing the Commercial Republic: Constitutional Design After Madison) The Journal of Social Philosophy 41 (2): 202-209 (2010)

“Interpreting Constitutions: A Comparative Study” Law and Politics Book Review  vol. 16.8 (August 2006)


American Constitutional Politics · Syllabus

The Constitution Outside of the Courts · Syllabus

Legal Theory · Syllabus

War and the Constitution · Syllabus

(For syllabi for other years or topics, please email me directly)