The Congress

Louis Henkin

in Foreign Affairs and the United States Constitution

Published in print November 1996 | ISBN: 9780198260981
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682193 | DOI:
The Congress

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The president had to contend for powers in a novel office furnished with few. Congress has needed no extravagant, uncommon constitutional interpretations to support the legitimacy of its exercises of power; even its authority deriving from national sovereignty has been secondary to the impressive array of powers expressly enumerated in the constitution, not least the sole charge of an indispensable and ample purse. The powers of Congress are denominated ‘legislative’, as distinguished, in particular, from those termed ‘executive’. Most of the enumerated powers of Congress are indeed legislative, that is, they provide authority to enact domestic law in the matters indicated. The power to declare war is authority to perform an international act, but it has legislative implications and consequences as well. Congress has also claimed authority to make foreign policy by resolutions and other actions, not least by authorising spending and appropriating funds, which strictly do not ‘legislate’, and do not enact law in the United States.

Keywords: Congress; power; sovereignty; constitution; legislative; domestic law; foreign policy; resolutions

Chapter.  8412 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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