Bruce Ackerman LAW ’67, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science, is getting laughed at. Or at least his theories are.

Ackerman’s new book “The Decline and Fall of the American Republic” about he power of the Executive branch was reviewed in the online magazine The Rumpus Tuesday. (The Rumpus is not to be confused with Yale’s Rumpus).

Twice the reviewer Bezalel Stern uses the phrase “ha ha.” For instance:

The power of the Executive was left (comparatively, at least) to its own devices. Ackerman posits that the reasoning behind this was that an out-of-control Executive could easily be reigned in by Congress or the courts.

To which a 21st century observer might respond: Ha ha.


My favorite suggestion, although perhaps the least workable one is something he calls “Deliberation Day.” A concept he co-invented with Jim Fishkin, about which Ackerman has written a previous book, “proposes a new national holiday held two weeks before presidential elections” in order to defeat the sound-bite media coverage that has come to dominate presidential campaigns. “Registered voters will be called to neighborhood meeting places to discuss the central issues raised by the campaign. Nobody would be forced to attend. But if tens of millions of citizens took up the invitation, it would radically change incentives for political professionals.”

To which a twenty-first century observer might respond: Ha ha.

Ha ha.