Latest in War Powers

War Powers

War Powers and the Su-22 Episode: Third-Party Defense of Coalition Partners

Early Sunday evening, a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 that had just completed a bombing run targeting US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Raqqa region. The episode raises important questions under the U.N. Charter (see Adil Ahmad Haque’s analysis here). But what about U.S. domestic law?

Executive Power

What’s the Legal Basis for the Syria Strikes? The Administration Must Acknowledge Limits on its Power to Start a War

Just over a month ago, the Administration launched missile strikes against the Assad regime in Syria. The strikes followed a brutal chemical attack that killed scores of innocent civilians. We are all disturbed by Bashar al-Assad’s horrific attacks on his own citizens. But that cannot obscure the question of what the President’s legal authority was for the missile strikes, or whether he usurped power that belongs to Congress.

War Powers

Toward Transparency of Legal Position and Process and a White House Obligation to Disclose

A White House’s responsibility to explain the legal basis for military actions such as the Syria missile strikes is dangerously undefined. This is not a problem unique to the Trump Administration. Nor do the differences between administrations in the choice, the structure, or timing of transparency fall out exclusively among party lines. What has emerged is a transparency regime shaped largely by broad discretion and perceived political necessity.


The Constitutionality of the Syria Strike Through the Eyes of OLC (and the Obama Administration)

“The opinions of judges, no less than executives and publicists, often suffer the infirmity of confusing the issue of a power's validity with the cause it is invoked to promote, of confounding the permanent executive office with its temporary occupant,” wrote the esteemed Robert Jackson in the first paragraph of the most celebrated opinion in the most famous presidential power decision in Supreme Court history.

War Powers

The Search for Authorization: Three Eras of the President’s National Security Power

The constitutional text governing national security law is full of gaps and oversights. This is particularly true with regard to the President. Notwithstanding occasional claims of extra-constitutional, emergency power by Congress or presidents, the basic theory and practice of the Constitution is and always has been that the federal government possesses only enumerated or implied constitutional power. And the defining role of the executive in U.S.

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