War Powers

The White House / Ben Balter (background)

Throughout history, presidents and congresses have jockeyed for control over war powers. Article I of the Constitution grants Congress the exclusive authority to declare war, while Article II names the President as “Commander in Chief” of the army, navy and militia. The jockeying reached a watershed moment of congressional assertiveness with the passage of the 1973 War Powers Act. Since then, however, presidential war-making power has been in a state of near-constant expansion—an expansion only accelerated by overseas counterterrorism actions and recent presidential military actions in Libya and Syria.

Latest in War Powers

Executive Power

Documents: FOIA Suit on the Legal Basis of Syrian Airstrikes

In May 2017, the nonprofit Protect Democracy filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the Trump administration's legal justification behind the U.S. airstrikes in Syria during April of that year. The litigation produced proof of a seven-page legal memo analyzing the legal basis for the strikes, which the Justice Department has not yet released.

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