Post Date: January 31, 2007
Professor David Barron ’94 testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about Congress’s Constitutional power to end a war. The committee hearing is expected to launch a larger debate about Congress’s power to stop the current Iraq war, which could begin as early as next month in the Senate.
“Though congressional war powers are not plenary, neither do they limit the legislature solely to reliance upon a complete termination of funding in regulating the scope, duration or size of a military operation,” Barron stated in his testimony. “Our constitutional tradition shows that measures such as those now being considered concerning military operations in Iraq – whether they place caps on troop levels, restrictions on the introduction of new troops, or establish a date certain by which troops must be redeployed – are clearly constitutional exercises of well-established congressional war powers.” Click here to read Barron’s testimony. (pdf version)
If Congress chooses to take action, it could halt President Bush’s proposal to deploy 21,500 additional troops to Iraq. In the past, Congress has used its power to put restrictions on deployments for the Vietnam War and conflicts in Cambodia, Somalia, and Bosnia.
Barron is a tenured professor at HLS and is currently teaching administrative law, local government law, and property. He has spoken at several conferences and events on the topic of separation of powers during war.