WASHINGTON (Oct. 15, 2019) – Donald Trump blindsided Congress recently when he changed the United States’ policy toward Syria. Trump’s unilateral action, however, is less an aberration than a continuation of a trend.

In a new policy study, Louis Fisher, scholar in residence at the Constitution Project, shows how Congress has been abdicating its inherent authority over war-making and foreign affairs for decades, and presidents have rushed in to fill the power vacuum.

Fisher argues that the notion of absolute presidential authority is dangerous and constitutionally bogus. He finds allowing presidents to instigate and continue military actions in other nations is at odds with the vision presented by the Founders. He goes on to say that the Supreme Court has aided and abetted the executive branch’s increased authority over foreign affairs through mistaken rulings.

Fisher concludes, “Nothing in Article II places any exclusive power in the president over external affairs. He is the Commander in Chief of the army and navy and of the militia of the several states, ‘when called into the actual Service of the United States.’ Article I empowers Congress to call forth ‘the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections, and repel Invasions.’ Congress is empowered by the Constitution to ‘make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.'”