Reasserting congressional control over war-making is substantively important.
First, the status quo undermines democracy. Voters casting their ballots in the 2018 midterms ought to be able to look to an up-or-down vote to determine where their representative stood on striking Syria, one of the most grave and consequential matters that the country has considered over the last couple of years. Instead, legislators escaped taking a stand, rendering voters unable to hold them accountable.
Second, as Tim Carney writes, it is corrosive to the rule of law “for a president to go to war through unconstitutional means,” and “the precedent of previous presidents’ illegal, unauthorized wars doesn’t make Trump’s unauthorized war legal.”
Third, as the law professor Ilya Somin points out, some of the prudential reasons that caused the Framers to vest the war power in Congress are even more relevant today…