Long Wars and the Constitution by Stephen M. Griffin

By Stephen M. Griffin

In a wide-ranging constitutional heritage of presidential conflict judgements from 1945 to the current, Stephen M. Griffin rethinks the long-running debate over the “imperial presidency” and concludes that the eighteenth-century structure is insufficient to the demanding situations of a post-9/11 world.

The structure calls for the consent of Congress prior to the U.S. can visit warfare. Truman’s selection to struggle in Korea with out gaining that consent was once unconstitutional, says Griffin, however the acquiescence of Congress and the yankee humans created a precedent for presidents to say autonomy during this area ever in view that. The unthinking extension of presidential management in overseas affairs to some extent the place presidents unilaterally make a decision whilst to visit battle, Griffin argues, has destabilized our constitutional order and deranged our overseas coverage. Long Wars and the Constitution demonstrates the unforeseen connections among presidential struggle strength and the constitutional crises that experience plagued American politics.

modern presidents are stuck in a difficulty. at the one hand are the obligations passed over to them via a perilous international, and at the different is an lack of ability for sound decisionmaking within the absence of interbranch deliberation. President Obama’s continuation of many Bush management guidelines within the lengthy struggle opposed to terrorism is just the most recent in a sequence of problems caused by the imbalances brought by means of the post-1945 constitutional order. Griffin argues for starting a cycle of responsibility within which Congress could play a significant function in judgements for warfare, whereas spotting the realities of twenty-first century diplomacy.

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Long Wars and the Constitution

In a wide-ranging constitutional background of presidential conflict judgements from 1945 to the current, Stephen M. Griffin rethinks the long-running debate over the “imperial presidency” and concludes that the eighteenth-century structure is insufficient to the demanding situations of a post-9/11 global. The structure calls for the consent of Congress sooner than the USA can visit struggle.

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Furthermore, this exchange illustrated very well that some important members of the founding generation had substantially the same concerns about executive power in relation to war as Americans do today. Madison’s arguments were brutally substantive and cut right to the heart of concern over giving the executive the power to initiate war. If nothing else, this exchange showed that it is quite wrong War Powers and Constitutional Change 23 to base the interpretation of the war powers in the Constitution on lawyerly distinctions.

Indeed, by the end of the book we will have reviewed all public (and some confidential) executive branch legal opinions justifying the use of presidential war power since 1950 (for convenience, they are gathered together and listed in the Appendix). These presidential claims created the contemporary war powers debate. Like nuclear weapons and covert paramilitary operations, the war powers debate is a product of the post–World War II world. Scholars have not fully realized that it did not exist in anything like its current form prior to President Truman’s 1950 decision to intervene in Korea.

Consider some episodes from the early republic—the 1793 exchange just referred to between Hamilton and Madison on executive power in foreign affairs, the controversy over the 1798 Quasi-War with France, and the debate on how to handle the depredations of the Barbary states in the Jefferson and Madison administrations. Reviewing these episodes will allow us to address three enduring mysteries of the modern war powers controversy. One mystery, highlighted by Justice Jackson’s comments in Steel Seizure, is how commentators acquired the idea that the founding generation disagreed about war powers as much as they disagreed about presidential power in foreign affairs generally.

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