Guest author: “Hawks and Doves: Evaluating Presidential Powers and Duties Against Congress’s Power to Declare War”

Can an unwilling President be obliged to wage war?  The is the knotty–but not unimaginable–question with which Duke Law 3L Andrea L. R. Pillai grapples in her note, “Hawks and Doves: Evaluating Presidential Powers and Duties Against Congress’s Power to Declare War,” in the current issue of the prestigious Duke Law Journal 

I am especially excited to bring this superb piece of scholarship to your attention not only because it represents extraordinarily original thinking that you’ll want to have in your ‘intellectual data base’, but also because the note started out as a course paper for our National Security Law seminar. 

You’ve seen other national/international security-related papers originally prepared for courses here at Duke Law become entries in the LENS Essay Series and spotlighted on this blog, but this is the first time a Duke Law Journal article has been featured on Lawfire®.

Here’s the abstract of Andrea’s essay:

What would happen if Congress declared war against the president’s wishes? Would the president be forced to prosecute the war? Or are there mechanisms, whether through the system of checks and balances or the president’s own delegated, independent powers, that give the president the authority to disregard Congress’s declaration? This Note argues that a declaration of war must go through the process of bicameralism and presentment to be valid. Thus, the president has the authority to veto a declaration of war. If Congress overcomes the president’s veto, this Note concludes that the president must prosecute the war. The president does not have the independent authority under the commander-in-chief power to overcome Congress’s declare-war power. Further, the president has a separate duty under the Take Care Clause to faithfully execute the law, which includes a declaration of War

Intriguing, right?  Be sure to read Andrea’s full note as it is really a fascinating piece of work.  Again, you can find it here.

About the Author:

Andrea L. R. Pillai (J.D. 2024) is a third-year law student at Duke University School of Law. Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Andrea graduated from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service in 2017 with a B.S.F.S. in International Political Economy. After graduation, Andrea will join Sullivan & Cromwell in Washington, DC and will subsequently clerk for Judge Timothy J. Kelly on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.   At Duke Law, Andrea is the Special Projects Editor for Duke Law Journal, serves as a Board Member of the Fair Chance Project, and works as a Research Assistant and a Teaching Assistant.

Remember what we like to say on Lawfire®: gather the facts, examine the law, evaluate the arguments – and then decide for yourself!

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