President Bush’s authorization of National Security Agency eavesdropping on communications between the United States and other countries that are said to involve Al Qaeda is helping bring to a boil the long-simmering debate over the president’s expansive assertions of presidential war powers.
Recent controversies include the detention and interrogation of “enemy combatants,” the trials by “military commissions” that are now under challenge at the Supreme Court, and the 2002 advice of then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales that the president could constitutionally choose to invade Iraq without Congressional approval.
Brookings continued its Judicial Issues Forum series March 17 with a look at the both current and historical debates—going back to the colonial era and the framing of the Constitution—about the extent of the president’s war powers. Panelists will also discuss the responses of Congress and the judiciary. Speakers include William Galston, a Brookings senior fellow appointed last year. Galston’s research includes examining major institutions involved in the U.S. political process, including the electoral system, the media, the faith community, the courts and Congress.