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The Bush Presidency and the Constitutional Powers of War

Recorded on February 22, 2006

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Has President George W. Bush overstepped his constitutional powers in conducting the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq? How forcefully and independently should the President act to repel threats to the nation? What role does Congress play in setting the course of the Iraq war, interrogation policy at the Guantanamo Bay base, or military surveillance by the National Security Agency? What can Congress do to counter presidential decisions in foreign policy? Should it do so? Such hotly contested questions demand an assessment of the allocation of war-making powers between the Executive and Legislative branches, and the reconstruction of the meaning of the foreign affairs power in the Constitution. In an era of terrorism, rogue nations, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, getting the answers to these questions right is an imperative of homeland defense and national security.

John Yoo is a Professor of Law at the University of California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He served as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel in the U.S. Justice Department from 2001-03, where he was involved in many of the legal issues concerning the war on terrorism. He is the author of The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs After 9/11 (University of Chicago Press, 2005).