“War Powers Clause” resides within Article I, Section 8 of the United
States Constitution. This clause sets forth Congress’ legal right to declare war
when necessary. In relation to the exercising of war powers, it is estimated
that five known wars have been declared under the authority of the United
States Constitution. These include: War of 1812, Spanish/American War,
Mexican/American War, WWI, and WWII. The Mexican/American War, however, is
often not recognized in reference to a legitimate and genuine declaration of
war since it actually occurred during the time following already heated
animosity amongst both sides. Therefore, the United States did not need to
actually declare war, but to only acknowledge its existence to the public at
hand. Still others believe it did constitute a declaration as is proved by
various legal documents attached to its occurrence.
Accompanying such authority to declare war,
however, many believed that such power could and would be abused if not
adequately regulated. In addition, war powers, in general, seemed to be at
opposite ends from each other. Congress possessed the power to declare war,
maintain the military and funding for war, as well as still held responsibility
over the inception of laws. The President, however, maintains authority on all
other aspects, such as defense against impending attacks against the country,
existing as the head of the military, the power to grant/veto bills, and
equally has the authority to declare war.
Due to these
growing concerns, Congress went forward to pass the “War Powers
Resolution” in 1973. This resolution entailed that the Commander in Chief
acquire a war declaration or resolution granting the application of force from
Congress within a time period of 60 days of the inception of such animosities.
This acquisition must be accompanied by a complete conveyance of pertinent
facts to the Acts and procedures as well.
The War Powers Resolution, however, has not been
without its own share of serious criticism. Most presidents subsequent to it
have made claims as to its unconstitutionality in relation to its imposition
upon the authority of the Commander in Chief of the United States. There are
questions as to how it places boundaries on the president’s power prior to even
obtaining a war declaration from Congress as well, thus bringing even more
questions as to its constitutionality.
additional arguments that have been posited include the need for adherence to
democracy to do away with such covert policies as well as the potential for a
violation of the “”
Clause. Congress has still maintained the “Necessary and Proper
Clause” as the basis for its authority in such a case, however. This Clause
specifies that Congress possesses the power to institute all laws necessary as
well as to adhere to the authority set forth by the United States Constitution.
This conflict of interests represents an area which may only be examined in
times of war, however. Therefore, it will remain an object of contention while
issues loom on the horizon.