Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
The Supreme Court has yet to deliver a final word on whether American citizens born in Jerusalem can have their passports list “Israel” as their place of birth if they so choose. Last week, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in the case of Benjamin Zivotofsky, invalidated a federal law authorizing such recordation on the grounds that the president has exclusive power to conduct the foreign affairs of the United States.
The Zivotofskys’ lawyer, noted constitutional litigator Nathan Lewin, has said he will pursue a decision from the Supreme Court. In the meantime, we think a short exploration of who controls U.S. foreign policy is in order.
Since the beginning of the republic, Congress has had a constitutional role to play in the area of foreign affairs and it has done so over the years. (This is not to even consider the plausible argument that the authorization by Congress of a particular listing on a passport by an American citizen is hardly involvement in the foreign affairs of the nation.)
As every school child should know, the Constitution grants Congress the “power of the purse” – that is, it is the congressional role to determine how, when and if to fund presidential initiatives. Also, while the Constitution dubs the president the “commander in chief,” it also specifically grants to Congress the general power to declare war and to raise and support the armed forces.
Two prominent examples of how this has played out are the Neutrality Acts of the 1930s and the end of the Vietnam War.
The U.S. Neutrality Acts forbade arms sales to belligerent nations except on a “cash and carry” basis. Yet prior to the U.S. entering World War II, the British were running low on money in their fight against Hitler. President Roosevelt wanted to provide weapons to Britain and indeed had called for America to become the “Arsenal of Democracy.” Isolationist lawmakers, however, insisted on strict adherence to the neutrality laws they had pushed through Congress. So Mr. Roosevelt came up with the idea of “lend-lease.” A law containing certain compromises the president had to make to accommodate the isolationists was enacted in 1941. That law permitted the president to “sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend or otherwise dispose of, to any such government [whose defense the president deems vital to the defense of the United States] any defense article.”
One can hardly think of a more profound expression of congressional power in the area of American foreign policy than its principal role in the lend-lease episode – first in the reach of the neutrality laws and then the Lend Lease law itself, which affected the course of World War II, world history and more particularly America’s role in the international arena.
Similarly, the fractious war in Vietnam, one of the most debated foreign policy issues in American history, came to an end when Congress simply refused to continue funding it. More recently, in connection with American military actions in the Middle East, the War Powers Act has continued to loom large in terms of congressional restraints on presidential action.
There are many more examples that could be cited. The point is that the idea of foreign affairs being the exclusive prerogative of the president is one of those misleading myths about the American way of government. And if that’s the case even when it comes to declaring and conducting wars, it is surely so when Congressional action may be indirectly politically supportive of a U.S. ally.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.
Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof
What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.
Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.
The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.
Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US
No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?
For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.
It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.
For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.
Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation
Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.
Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers
It seems to us that while the Jewish entitlement to the land of Israel transcends the Holocaust, the Jewish experience during that tragic time is the most solid of foundations for these “national rights.”
Last year the Obama administration sought to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes by generally requiring that missile attacks be limited to instances where Americans were directly threatened and there was a “near certainty” that no civilians would be killed.
If anything, Operation Protective Edge showed that Israel will not pull punches when it comes to combating terror.
Toward the end of Operation Protective Edge this past summer, the president was unusually vocal about Israel’s so-called disproportionate use of force and alleged lack of compliance with international humanitarian law.
There was no accompanying caption, but the cartoon could not help but feed the anti-Semitic canard that Israel was responsible for 9/11.
An accomplished Torah scholar and ardent adherent of Bobov chassidus, he was renowned for his self-effacing dedication and skills as an international lawyer and law professor
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-zivotofsky-case-and-u-s-foreign-policy/2013/07/31/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: