Late in the Obama administration, a very interesting separation of powers issue developed out of the saga over the chemical weapons attack in Syria. The issue arose after President Obama asserted his authority to conduct military action in Syria without congressional approval, but decided to seek such approval anyway.
There is a good deal of debate as to whether the president actually has to go to Congress for approval. One member of the Obama’s own party seemed to think so …
Some prominent Republicans stepped in to defend the President Obama’s power to initiate such actions:
There’s an update to this, of course. President Trump has also launched military strikes against Syria, also without any updates to the original AUMF. Earlier this year, a new Senate resolution was initiated that would limit President Trump’s war powers. Learn more about that here.
Paper Topic #13: How much power does the President have to go around the wishes of Congress in the war on Terror? How much power does the President still have to deal with issues of fighting ISIS and dealing with the enemy combatants from the various campaigns in the war on terror? Does the Court’s recent jurisprudence on the separation of powers issue in foreign policy give us any hints?
Suggested Reading: Vladeck, S.I. 2011. “The Supreme Court, the War on Terrorism, and the Separation of Powers. Human Right Magazine 38(1).