TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

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TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952)The Youngstown case the Supreme Court continued to delineate the contoursof Presidential powers as they relate to domestic actions with foreign policyramifications. In 1952, during the Korean War, a nationwide steel strikethreatened to bring the US war effort to a halt. As a precautionary measure,President Truman issued Executive Order 10340, commanding his CommerceSecretary to seize domestic steel mills. President Truman claimed authority todo so as Commander-in-Chief to maintain the flow of military goods to theKorean Peninsula. 23• The Court rejected Truman’s claim by a 6-3 margin, stating, “wecannot with faithfulness to our constitutional system hold that theCommander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces has the ultimate poweras such to take possession of private property in order to keep labordisputes from stopping production. This is a job for the Nation’s lawmakers,not for its military authorities.”• A concurring opinion noted, “Congress has reserved to itself the rightto determine where and when to authorize the seizure of propertyin meeting such an emergency. [The President’s order] violated theessence of the principle of the separation of governmental powers.”One widely-cited opinion from this case established the idea of a “zone oftwilight” of overlapping authorities between the executive and the legislature.When the President takes measures that are against Congressional wishes,the opinion declared, his “power is at it lowest ebb.” Conversely, when thePresident acts with the consent and support of Congress, his power is at itsapex. Hence, it is often important for the President to work with Congressto achieve certain national security goals, instead of working at loggerheads.Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006)Hamdan is perhaps the most consequential national security-related SupremeCourt decision in the post-9/11 era because it constrained the power of thePresident to try suspected terrorists. Salim Hamdan, a Guantanamo Bay detaineewho admitted to being Osama bin Ladin’s driver, brought a habeas corpussuit challenging the legality of the military commissions created to try himand other Guantanamo Bay detainees.18 Trials by Fire: Counterterrorism and the Law

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