Peter M. Shane

Jacob E. Davis and Jacob E. Davis II Chair in Law, Ohio State University-Main Campus
Chapter Member: Central Ohio SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Peter

Shane's research focuses on U.S. constitutional and administrative law, with particular interest in the presidency and separation of powers. Writings include Madison's Nightmare: How Executive Power Threatens American Democracy (University of Chicago 2009) and Democracy's Chief Executive: Interpreting the Constitution and Defining the Future of the Presidency (forthcoming 2022, University of California).


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In the News

Regular contributions by Peter M. Shane to Washington Monthly.
"Shaping Administrative Process and Metrics of Ambition," Peter M. Shane, Opinion | Process, The Regulatory Review, March 30, 2021.
"Lessons in Presidential Authority," Peter M. Shane, Opinon/Process, The Regulatory Review, March 29, 2021.
Peter M. Shane quoted by Sean Illing, "How Do We Know If We’re in a Constitutional Crisis? 11 Experts Explain." Vox, May 16, 2019.
Peter M. Shane's research on border wall's legality discussed by Jacqueline Thomsen, "Trump Faces Mounting Legal Challenges to Wall," The Hill, April 9, 2019.
"Why Passing the Joint Resolution Against the National Emergency Will Matter Even if It’s Vetoed," Peter M. Shane, Why Passing the Joint Resolution Against the National Emergency Will Matter Even if It’s Vetoed, March 4, 2019.
Peter M. Shane's research on legality of national emergency discussed by Sean Illing, "Trump Declared a National Emergency at the Border. I Asked 11 Experts if it’s Legal.," Vox, February 15, 2019.
Guest to discuss Brett Kavanaugh hearings on Here and Now, Peter M. Shane, September 4, 2018.
Peter M. Shane's research on presidential powers discussed by Charlie Savage, "Trump and His Lawyers Embrace a Vision of Vast Executive Power," The New York Times, June 4, 2018.
Peter M. Shane quoted by Adelaide Feibel, "Toledo Business Owners, Leaders React to Supreme Court Decision on Cakes" The Toledo Blade, June 4, 2018.
Peter M. Shane quoted by David G. Savage, "Without Mentioning Mueller, Trump Lawyers Urge High Court to Bolster His Power to Fire Executive Officials" Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2018.
Peter M. Shane quoted by Jan Wolfe, " How Might Trump Remove Special Counsel in Russia Probe?" U.S. News & World Report, April 9, 2018.
Peter M. Shane quoted by David Ignatius, "Ignatius: If Trump Fires Mueller, Courts Might Keep up Probe" HeraldNet, April 5, 2018.
Peter M. Shane quoted by Ryan Shane, "Sessions Attacks 'Activist Judges' Over 'Sanctuary-Cities' and DACA Blocks" Newsweek, March 13, 2018.
"Paul Manafort's Many-Flawed Challenge to Prosecutorial Authority," Peter M. Shane, Take Care Blog, January 4, 2018.
"Yes, Donald Trump Can Obstruct Justice," Peter M. Shane, Washington Monthly, December 15, 2017.
Peter M. Shane quoted by Lani Seelinger, "How Can Trump’s Past Reveal America's Future? The President's Old Habits Die Hard" Bustle, November 2, 2017.
Peter M. Shane quoted on the unitary executive theory by David G. Savage, "Rules Protecting Special Counsel May Not be Enough if Trump Decides to Fire Him" Los Angeles Times, August 3, 2017.
"The Most Important Question for Trump Judicial Nominees," Peter M. Shane, Slate, July 5, 2017.
"Justices to Consider Trump Request to Delay Water Case," Peter M. Shane, National Law Journal, March 29, 2017.
"The GOP’s Radical Assault on Regulations Has Already Begun," Peter M. Shane, Washington Monthly, February 27, 2017.
Peter M. Shane quoted on the Constitution by Gail Ablow, "Separation of Powers, Explained" Bill Moyers, February 10, 2017.
"The Quiet GOP Campaign against Government Regulation," Peter M. Shane, The Atlantic, January 26, 2017.
Peter M. Shane quoted on replacing Scalia by Jeremy Pelzer, "Could Barack Obama 'Recess-Appoint' Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court?", December 29, 2016.
Peter M. Shane quoted on the political independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by John Heltman, "CFPB on Collision Course with Trump's Justice Department" National Mortgage News, December 7, 2016.
"Donald Trump and the War against Independent Agencies," Peter M. Shane, Washington Monthly, November 25, 2016.
Peter M. Shane quoted on federal agency regulations by Marcia Coyle, "Obama's Hundreds of Executive Orders, Under Trump Microscope" National Law Journal, November 14, 2016.
"Congress’ Obstruction Addiction and the Garland Nomination," Peter M. Shane, Washington Monthly, September 8, 2016.
"A Compromise on Superdelegates," Peter M. Shane, Washington Monthly, June 13, 2016.
Peter M. Shane quoted on the Supreme Court after Scalia's death by Sherrod Brown, "Senate Must Do Its Job on Supreme Court Nomination", February 28, 2016.
Peter M. Shane quoted on the consequences of leaving a vacancy on the court, "Brown Calls on Senate to Move on Filling Scalia Seat" Ironton Tribune, February 25, 2016.
Guest to discuss ethics standards on executive branch employees on Western North Carolina Public Radio, Peter M. Shane, January 29, 2016.
Peter M. Shane quoted on executive branch authority by Charlie Savage, "Presidential Candidates, Silent on Presidential Power" New York Times, January 22, 2016.
Peter M. Shane quoted on the Supreme Court challenging the Obama administration's executive actions on immigration by Tierney Sneed, "Is the Supreme Court Poised to Redefine Obama’s Executive Power?" Talking Points Memo, January 21, 2016.
Peter M. Shane quoted on the separation of powers by Garrett Epps, "When the House of Representatives Can Sue the President" The Atlantic, September 14, 2015.
"Judge Hanen's Misconceptions and the Legality of Deferred Action," Peter M. Shane, Huffington Post, March 18, 2015.
Peter M. Shane quoted on subpoenaing Hillary Clinton for her files by Mark Drajem, "Republicans May Need Court Order to See Hillary Clinton’s E-Mail Server" Bloomberg, March 16, 2015.
"Why Contempt Case against Holder May be Doomed," Peter M. Shane,, June 21, 2012.
"Occupy the Constitution 2.0," Peter M. Shane, Huffington Post, December 12, 2011.
Peter M. Shane quoted on the President’s uncertain powers under the public debt clause , "Obama Could Cite 14th Amendment Powers to Tackle Debt Limit" USA Today, July 28, 2011.
Peter M. Shane quoted on the dubiousness of the Obama Administration’s legal claim that it did not need congressional approval for extended involvement in Libya, "In House, Challenges Over Policy on Libya" New York Times, June 22, 2011.
"Repair the Electoral College," Peter M. Shane, Washington Post, October 31, 2004.


"Informing Communities: Strengthening Democracy in the Digital Age – Final Report of the Knight Commission on the Information Needs of Communities in a Democracy ," Lead Drafter, Aspen Institute, 2009.
Argues for urgent action on a variety of fronts to help meet the news and information needs of local communities. Key objectives are maximizing the availability of relevant and credible information, enhancing the information capacity of individuals, and promoting citizens’ engagement with information and with one another.
Connecting Democracy: Online Consultation and the Flow of Political Communication (edited with Stephen Coleman) (MIT Press, 2012).
Assesses the potential for using online government-sponsored public consultations to deepen democratic practice. Chapters authored by Peter Shane provide a preliminary assessment of the Obama Administration’s early “participatory government” initiatives and a survey of legal issues governments will likely confront in initiating ambitious forms of online public consultation.
"Cybersecurity Policy as if ‘Ordinary Citizens’ Mattered: The Case for Public Participation in Cyber Policy Making" I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society 8, no. 2 (2012): 433-462.

Argues that the importance and obscurity of the federal government’s current policy making regarding cyber security should motivate a concentrated effort to engage the general public more directly in making the relevant tradeoffs. Recommends a national commission on cyber security, and lays out a plan for such a commission to initiate inclusive public deliberations on critical policy issues entailed in securing U.S. cyber systems.

"Madison’s Nightmare: How Executive Power Threatens American Democracy" (University of Chicago Press, 2009).
Argues that the Madisonian system of checks and balances is being subverted by unsupportable executive branch claims of inherent presidential authority beyond Congress’s oversight powers or the courts’ powers of judicial review. Concludes that situation is unlikely to improve without changes in the larger social and political context that incentivize both President and Congress to be more accountable to the full range of interests and perspectives among the constituents they represent.
"Disappearing Democracy: How Bush v. Gore Undermined the Federal Right to Vote for Presidential Electors" Florida State University Law Review 29, no. 2 (2001).

Faults the Supreme Court for premising the Bush v. Gore decision on an unexamined assertion that the U.S. Constitution offers no protection for the individual right to vote in presidential elections. Argues that the rights of voters whose choices went altogether unrecognized in Florida should have been regarded as posing a more important problem than divergences in the inter-county disparities in vote counting procedures per se.

"School Desegregation Remedies and the Fair Governance of Schools" University of Pennsylvania Law Review 132, no. 5 (1984): 1041-1129.
Interprets the school desegregation right vindicated in Brown v. Board of Education and its progeny as a right of minority students and their parents to attend public school systems governed with equal regard for their educational interests. Argues, on that basis, that federal courts should regard themselves as having robust remedial powers to restructure unresponsive school systems. (Nearly 30 years later, this interpretation of the law – however valid – will no doubt seem quixotic to any reader of Roberts Court race opinions.)