War Powers Resolution Essay

Submitted By mcclammy22
Words: 618
Pages: 3

From its inception, the War Powers Resolution was controversial because it operated on the national war powers, powers divided by the Constitution in no definitive fashion between the President and Congress. Congress adopted the resolution in response to the perception that Presidents had assumed more authority to send forces into hostilities than the framers of the Constitution had intended for the Commander-in-Chief. President Nixon in his veto message challenged the constitutionality of the essence of the War Powers Resolution, and particularly two provisions. He argued that the legislative veto provision, permitting Congress to direct the withdrawal of troops by concurrent resolution, was unconstitutional. He also argued that the provision requiring withdrawal of troops after 60-90 days unless Congress passed legislation authorizing such use was unconstitutional because it checked Presidential powers without affirmative congressional action. Every President since the enactment of the War Powers Resolution has taken the position that it is an unconstitutional infringement on the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief.

On June 23, 1983, the Supreme Court in INS v. Chadha, ruled unconstitutional the legislative veto provision in section 244(c)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Although the case involved the use of a one-House legislative veto, the decision cast doubt on the validity of any legislative veto device that was not presented to the President for signature. The Court held that to accomplish what the House attempted to do in the Chadha case "requires action in conformity with the express procedures of the Constitution's prescription for legislative action: passage by a majority of both Houses and presentment to the President." On July 6, 1983, the Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's decision striking down a provision in another law that permitted Congress to disapprove by concurrent (two-House) resolution.

Since section 5(c) requires forces to be removed by the President if Congress so directs by a concurrent resolution, it is constitutionally suspect under the reasoning applied by the Court. A concurrent resolution is adopted by both chambers, but it does not require presentment to the President for signature or veto. Some legal analysts contend, nevertheless, that the War Powers Resolution is in a unique category which differs from statutes containing a legislative veto over delegated authorities. Perhaps more important, some observers contend, if a majority of both Houses ever voted to withdraw U.S. forces, the President would be unlikely to continue the action for long, and Congress could withhold appropriations to