Vol. LIII No. 5

Restoring Constitutional Balance: Accommodating the Evolution of War

Abstract: When drafting the Constitution, the Framers implemented a structural system of checks and balances to guard against the executive tyranny they had experienced under British rule. During the Vietnam War many in Congress perceived the executive branch as over-reaching, and in response they passed the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which was an attempt to place a procedural check on executive power. This Note examines changes in the technology and actors involved in modern warfare against the scope of the Resolution. The 2011 conflict in Libya is presented as a specific example to demonstrate that modern warfare has evolved outside the scope of the Resolution. Based on the assumption that war powers should be balanced between the executive and legislative branches, this Note argues for new war powers legislation that is more broad and flexible in scope to accommodate the evolution of war.

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