The U.S. Constitution and the Power to Go to War: Historical and Current Perspectives

By Gary M. Stern; Morton H. Halperin | Go to book overview

The confrontation with Iraq in 1991 reopened the debate on presidential war powers. In Dellums v. Bush, the Justice Department took the position that President Bush did not need prior authorization from Congress. According to its analysis, Bush could have independently taken the nation from a defensive posture in Saudi Arabia to an offensive operation against Iraq. The Justice Department advanced a number of sweeping interpretations of presidential power, all of which Judge Harold Greene systematically challenged and rejected. Judge Greene remarked that if the President has

the sole power to determine that any particular offensive military operation, no matter how vast, does not constitute war-making but only an offensive military attack, the congressional power to declare war will be at the mercy of a semantic decision by the Executive. Such an "interpretation" would evade the plain meaning of the Constitution, and it cannot stand. 83

Perhaps that interpretation cannot stand in court, as I hope is the case. But it may prevail if Congress fails to use the constitutional powers at its command. When it acquiesces to presidential initiatives, the record clearly shows that legislative passivity will not be corrected by judicial activism. A handful of legislators going to court will be told (appropriately) to return to their chambers and use the ample legislative tools that are available to check the President.84 As Justice Powell once warned Congress, if it "chooses not to confront the President, it is not our task to do so."85 Congress does not function in a vacuum. Citizens and scholars must pressure Congress constantly to discharge the responsibilities given it by the Constitution.


NOTES
1.
John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government §§ 146-148 ( 1962).
2.
William Blackstone, 2 Commentaries on the Laws of England237-80 ( William Young Birch & Abraham Small eds., 1803).
3.
1 Records of the Federal Convention 65( Max Farrand ed., 1937).
4.
Id.
5.
Id.
6.
Id. at 65-66.
7.
6 The Writings of James Madison312 ( Gaillard Hunt ed., 1900- 1910) (letter of April 2, 1798 to Thomas Jefferson).
8.
2 Farrand, supra note 3, 318-19.
9.
Id. at 318.
10.
Id.
11.
Id. at 319.
12.
2 The Debates in the Several State Conventions, on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution528 ( J. Elliot ed., 1836- 1845).
13.
6 The Writings of James Madison, supra note 7 at 148.
14.
5 The Writings of Thomas Jefferson123 ( Paul L. Ford ed., 1892- 1899).
15.
1 Farrand, supra note 3, 139-40.
16.
10 Op. Att'y Gen. 74, 79 ( 1861).
17.
1 A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents226( J. Richardson ed., 1897- 1925).

-26-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The U.S. Constitution and the Power to Go to War: Historical and Current Perspectives
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 202

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.