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The continuing concern over the stunning scale of the Obama administration’s domestic surveillance and the fight over the Senate report on the CIA’s use of torture show that in many ways we have not moved on, not only from 9/11, but from the political and constitutional context of the Cold War.  With due respect to those who harp on the dangers of the “imperial presidency” as well as those who stress continuing threats to national security, the real issue with respect to the use of presidential war powers lies in the inadequacy of interbranch deliberation between the president and Congress.  As I argue in my book Long Wars and the Constitution, an inadequate structure for deliberation has led time and again to policy disaster since the end of World War II.

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Stephen M. Griffin

Stephen M. Griffin is Rutledge C. Clement, Jr. Professor in Constitutional Law at Tulane Law School. He specializes in constitutional theory and history, emphasizing understanding American constitutional law from an interdisciplinary, historical point of view that is theoretically informed. Griffin, who joined the Tulane Law faculty in 1989, is the author of American Constitutionalism: From Theory to Politics (Princeton University Press 1996) and Long Wars and the Constitution) (Harvard University Press 2013). He also co-edited a reader now in its fourth edition, Constitutional Theory: Arguments and Perspectives (Lexis 2013).

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