AUTHOR'S NOTE: The views here are personal, not institutional. Much appreciation to Dave Adler, Jeff Crouch, Herb Fenster, Dick Pious, Mitch Sollenberger, and Bob Spitzer for offering valuable comments on the first draft.
The Law: The Baker-Christopher War Powers Commission
Article first published online: 14 JAN 2009
© 2009 Center for the Study of the Presidency
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 39, Issue 1, pages 128–140, March 2009
How to Cite
FISHER, L. (2009), The Law: The Baker-Christopher War Powers Commission. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 39: 128–140. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2008.03662.x
- Issue published online: 14 JAN 2009
- Article first published online: 14 JAN 2009
In July 2008, the National War Powers Commission released a detailed report that recommended the repeal of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 and its replacement with the War Powers Consultation Act. Co-chaired by former secretaries of state James A. Baker III and Warren Christopher, the commission report promised “equal respect” to the legislative and executive branches, but, in fact, it strengthened the president's capacity to initiate war and greatly weakened congressional and public control. Instead of addressing the framers' fear of placing the war power in the hands of a single executive with an appetite for military glory and fame, the report claimed that the U.S. Constitution is “ambiguous” about war powers and that federal courts “for the most part” have declined jurisdiction over war power cases. Both assertions are false.