Congressional oversight is necessary for a pragmatic, flexible approach to threats executive discretion results in knee-jerk policy failure

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AT: Circumvention

President believes he is constrained by statute

Saikrishna Prakash 12, professor of law at the University of Virginia and Michael Ramsey, professor of law at San Diego, “The Goldilocks Executive” Feb, SSRN

We accept that the President’s lawyers search for legal arguments to justify presidential action, that they find the President’s policy preferences legal more often than they do not, and that the President sometimes disregards their conclusions. But the close attention the Executive pays to legal constraints suggests that the President (who, after all, is in a good position to know) believes himself constrained by law. Perhaps Posner and Vermeule believe that the President is mistaken. But we think, to the contrary, it represents the President’s recognition of the various constraints we have listed, and his appreciation that attempting to operate outside the bounds of law would trigger censure from Congress, courts, and the public.

Obama will comply

David J Barron 8, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Martin S. Lederman, Visiting Professor of Law at the Georgetown University Law Center, “The Commander in Chief at the Lowest Ebb -- A Constitutional History”, Harvard Law Review, February, 121 Harv. L. Rev. 941, Lexis

In addition to offering important guidance concerning the congressional role, our historical review also illuminates the practices of the President in creating the constitutional law of war powers at the "lowest ebb." Given the apparent advantages to the Executive of possessing preclusive powers in this area, it is tempting to think that Commanders in Chief would always have claimed a unilateral and unregulable authority to determine the conduct of military operations. And yet, as we show, for most of our history, the presidential practice was otherwise. Several of our most esteemed Presidents - Washington, Lincoln, and both Roosevelts, among others - never invoked the sort of preclusive claims of authority that some modern Presidents appear to embrace without pause. In fact, no Chief Executive did so in any clear way until the onset of the Korean War, even when they confronted problematic restrictions, some of which could not be fully interpreted away and some of which even purported to regulate troop deployments and the actions of troops already deployed.¶ Even since claims of preclusive power emerged in full, the practice within the executive branch has waxed and waned. No consensus among modern Presidents has crystallized. Indeed, rather than denying the authority of Congress to act in this area, some modern Presidents, like their predecessors, have acknowledged the constitutionality of legislative regulation. They have therefore concentrated their efforts on making effective use of other presidential authorities and institutional [*949] advantages to shape military matters to their preferred design. n11 In sum, there has been much less executive assertion of an inviolate power over the conduct of military campaigns than one might think. And, perhaps most importantly, until recently there has been almost no actual defiance of statutory limitations predicated on such a constitutional theory.¶ This repeated, though not unbroken, deferential executive branch stance is not, we think, best understood as evidence of the timidity of prior Commanders in Chief. Nor do we think it is the accidental result of political conditions that just happened to make it expedient for all of these Executives to refrain from lodging such a constitutional objection. This consistent pattern of executive behavior is more accurately viewed as reflecting deeply rooted norms and understandings of how the Constitution structures conflict between the branches over war. In particular, this well-developed executive branch practice appears to be premised on the assumption that the constitutional plan requires the nation's chief commander to guard his supervisory powers over the military chain of command jealously, to be willing to act in times of exigency if Congress is not available for consultation, and to use the very powerful weapon of the veto to forestall unacceptable limits proposed in the midst of military conflict - but that otherwise, the Constitution compels the Commander in Chief to comply with legislative restrictions.¶ In this way, the founding legal charter itself exhorts the President to justify controversial military judgments to a sympathetic but sometimes skeptical or demanding legislature and nation, not only for the sake of liberty, but also for effective and prudent conduct of military operations. Justice Jackson's famous instruction that "with all its defects, delays and inconveniences, men have discovered no technique for long preserving free government except that the Executive be under the law, and that the law be made by parliamentary deliberations" n12 continues to have a strong pull on the constitutional imagination. n13 What emerges from our analysis is how much pull it seemed to [*950] have on the executive branch itself for most of our history of war powers development.

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