Baker-Christopher v. US Constitution

Constitution Baker-Christopher
Sudden Attack President may repel sudden attacks
Before War Starts Congress considers declaration of war * President decides on war
Roll-call vote of Representatives in Congress
Declaration of War **
President commences war and commands military
Congress oversees President and provides funding
After War Starts *** Significant wars Non-significant wars ****
Consultation with a committee –
war continues
No consultation
Vote for war – war continues No procedure
for ending war
Vote against war – war continues
1/3 + 1 vote in either house –
war continues
* Unlimited war (as in WWII) – or –
Limited war carefully prescribing limits on time, place, and manner of fighting, and duration of Presidential Authority.
** “We have … given… one effectual check to the dog of war, by transferring the power of letting him loose from the Executive to the Legislative body, from those who are to spend to those who are to pay.”
— Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789.
*** This section of the table is purposefully left blank. As provided in the Constitution, the decision of congress about whether we should get into a war is made before we get involved in the war – before the priorities of congress are changed by the rigors of war. On the right side of the table are the various anti-constitutional requirements that Baker-Christopher would impose on congress after the president begins his war.
**** Incl. preventive wars, reprisal against terrorists or states that sponsor terrorism, and wars the President thinks will last less than a week – with no limit on type of weapons or strength of force.
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