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THE WAR POWERS RESOLUTION

Photos © Carol H. Feeley

Under the United States Constitution, war powers are divided. Congress has the power to declare war, raise and support the armed forces, and control the war funding (Article I, Section 8), while the President is Commander in Chief (Article II, Section 2). But what happens when the President authorizes the use of force without a declaration of war? Who has the power to deploy U.S. armed forces into battle, and for how long?

The year is 2015 and the newly-created nation of Kurdistan, carved out of what were once the northern provinces of Iraq, is under attack from Turkey. The American President responds with a commitment of troops to aid the Kurdistanis but Congress resists and, after waiting the required ninety days, votes to withdraw troops. When the president refuses to comply, the two sides are drawn into federal court for a showdown. Click here to read the hypothetical.

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Coenen v. Pace was argued by distinguished legal scholars and 2009 Jennings faculty members Eriwn Chemerinsky, Dean of the University of California at Irvine School of Law, and Kenneth W. Starr, Dean of the Pepperdine University School of Law. This moot court was argued before a panel of equally distinguished “judges,” including:

The Honorable Arlin M. Adams, Counsel at Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis and former Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit Court

William T. Coleman Jr., former United States Secretary of Transportation

Michael A. Fitts, Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School

The Honorable Judith S. Kaye, Chief Judge of the State of New York (Ret.), Of Counsel, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

The Honorable Timothy Lewis, Counsel at Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis and former Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

The Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, First Lady of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

The Honorable Albert M. Rosenblatt, Associate Judge, State of New York Court of Appeals

The Honorable Dolores K. Sloviter, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

Jan Ting, Professor of Law, Temple University Beasley School of Law

Erwin Chemerinsky is the founding dean of the new School of Law at the University of California, Irvine. He was formerly Alston & Bird Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science at Duke Law School and, before that, spent 21 years on the faculty of the University of Southern California Law School. He has practiced law as a trial attorney in the United States Department of Justice and at Dobrovir, Oakes & Gebhardt in Washington, D.C. In April 2005, Chemerinsky was named one of “the top 20 legal thinkers in America” by Legal Affairs.

Kenneth W. Starr is Duane and Kelly Roberts Dean and Professor of Law at Pepperdine University School of Law. He is a former Judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, Solicitor General of the United States, and during the 1990s, served as Independent Counsel on the Whitewater matter. Starr clerked for the Honorable David W. Dyer of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, and for Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. He is a former partner at Kirkland & Ellis and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.