A Paper Tiger with Bite: A Defense of the War Powers Resolution

The War Powers Resolution (WPR) has led a beleaguered existence.  Since its enactment in 1973, it has been labeled ineffectual and useless.  This Note proves, however, that to review presidential unilateral uses of force since 1973 is to find a spirit of compliance with the WPR, as these uses of force have been characterized by their brevity and their lack of spilled U.S. blood.  While minor departures from the WPR’s black-letter requirements are conceded, none of these uses of force have developed into, or even resembled, Vietnam-esque quagmires.  As a result, this Note contends that the WPR has had a positive practical effect on the implementation of presidential unilateral uses of force.  The Note concludes by asserting that the welfare of the United States  is endangered, not by the unilateral uses of force that the WPR seeks to remedy, but by the congressionally sanctioned uses of force that, in reality, place no limit on Executive power.

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