Congressional and Presidential War Powers as a Dialogue Analysis of the Syrian and Isis Conflicts

32 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2016

See all articles by Kathleen Clark

Kathleen Clark

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Charles Tiefer

University of Baltimore - School of Law

Date Written: July 18, 2016

Abstract

Much of the scholarship on war powers looks back on whether U.S. military interventions were authorized, examining the President’s powers under Article II of the Constitution and congressional enactments. That legal question is important, but it does not capture the interactive nature of the dynamic between Congress and the President. This article instead focuses on the process of dialogue through which Congress and the President interact in the run-up to the exercise of war powers. We examine in detail how that dialogue operates in two recent episodes: the U.S. responses to Syrian President Assad’s use of chemical weapons in 2013, and the rise of ISIS since 2014. By immersing ourselves in the specifics of how the political branches interact, we can assess whether the exercise of war powers is democratic and legitimate. We see that Congress and the President take part in substantive consultation and dialogue, and through that dialogue, Congress and the public become more informed about the interests at stake and the available options. The nation benefits from such war powers dialogue between the two political branches.

Keywords: president, executive, legislative, constitutional law, statutory interpretation, Article II, national security, separation of powers, use of force, war powers, armed conflict, Congress

Suggested Citation

Clark, Kathleen and Tiefer, Charles, Congressional and Presidential War Powers as a Dialogue Analysis of the Syrian and Isis Conflicts (July 18, 2016). Cornell International Law Journal, Forthcoming; Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-07-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2812192 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2812192

Kathleen Clark (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
314-935-4081 (Phone)
314-935-6493 (Fax)

Charles Tiefer

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
United States

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