War Powers Of The United States

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War powers refers to the powers exercised by Congress or the president during times of war or other crises affecting national security. Article 2, Section 2 of the US Constitution declares that the president is the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States. He may direct the military after an official declaration of war from Congress. There is a lot of disagreement and confusion about what exactly the president has the power to do under the Constitution. The purpose of this paper is to determine what war powers the constitution and Congress give the president, domestically and abroad during times of war, and what the scope of those powers is. The Constitution does not explicitly give the president additional powers during times of emergency, but many people think that the framers of the Constitution implied these powers because the executive branch can respond faster than the legislative in times of crisis. Abraham Lincoln used the claim of emergency powers when he suspended the writ of habeas corpus without approval from Congress in 1862. In 1863, Congress passed the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act. This act gave the president power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, which allows prisoners to have their cases examined by a judge to determine if their detainment is lawful. Abraham Lincoln signed the bill into law in March of 1863 and, shortly after, suspended habeas corpus again. This allowed prisoners to be held for extended periods of time without jury trials. Habeas corpus remained suspended until President Andrew Johnson revoked the suspension in 1865 with Proclamation 148 . Ex Parte Merryman was a federal court case that challenged the constitutionality of the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act. John Merryman ... ... middle of paper ... ... citizens, both during times of peace and times of war. This question remains unanswered, even though it appears to be obvious that the practice is in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States of America. To conclude, what war powers the president has vested to him by Congress and the Constitution is often a contentious and controversial subject. It is often times unclear exactly how broad his powers are, due in part to the ambiguity of certain parts of the constitution. Since the founding of our country, presidents have pushed their war powers to the limit of what could be considered constitutional, and sometimes beyond. The judicial and legislative branches provide a much needed check on the president’s powers, although there are many aspects of those powers that still remain unclear and undecided, and most likely will for the foreseeable future.
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