Copyright (c) Virginia Law Review Assocation 1994.
Virginia Law Review
ARTICLE: PULLING THE PURSE STRINGS OF THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF *
* This Article is an expansion of William C. Banks & Peter Raven-Hansen, National Security Law and the Power of the Purse, Part IV (forthcoming 1994). Portions of that monograph are reproduced here with the permission of Oxford University Press and the authors.
80 Va. L. Rev. 833
Peter Raven-Hansen ** and William C. Banks ***
LOOKING back on the work of the Constitutional Convention, Thomas Jefferson wrote James Madison in 1789 that "we have already given ... one effectual check to the Dog of war by transferring the power of letting him loose from the Executive to the Legislative body, from those who are to spend to those who are to pay." 1 He was referring not only to the power to declare war, vested in Congress by the Declaration Clause, 2 but also to the power of appropriating money for exercises of war power, vested in Congress by the Spending, 3 Army, 4 Navy, 5 and the Necessary and Proper 6 Clauses. The Appropriations Clause 7 reinforces this power of the purse by prohibiting the spending of public revenues without appropriation. The Statement and Account Clause, 8 in turn, complements the Appropriations Clause by requiring periodic accounts of how public money is spent.
Jefferson had cause for satisfaction about the Constitution's arrangement of the powers of sword and purse. The power of the purse supplemented the Declaration of War power by allowing Congress to control war powers by specifying spending objectives or otherwise restricting spending ex ante. It also compensated for the possible failure of antecedent controls by giving Congress the ex post power of "supply" - appropriations for supporting military forces - which allows the legislature to determine how long U.S. participation in war may continue.
The technological transformation of modern warfare and the increase of global risks to ...
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