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War

War Powers Of The U.s. Government

The power of the federal government to conduct war extends to every matter and activity that has an effect on its conduct and progress. The war powers embrace every phase of national defense, including the mobilization and use of all resources of the nation and the protection of war materials. Most of these powers have not been used since WORLD WAR II, because the United States did not fight under a declaration of war while engaged in conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf.

Congress has the authority to stimulate the production of the war equipment and supplies by all proper methods, including the payment of subsidies or the imposition of limits on profits.

Congress can control the food supply during war to ensure that military and civilian needs are met. Other materials may be rationed as well, including gasoline. Congress also can regulate and control prices as a wartime emergency measure to prevent inflation. Price controls are designated to stabilize economic conditions, prevent speculative and abnormal increases in prices, increase production, and ensure a sufficient supply of goods at fair prices. The federal government can also impose rent control on housing.

Civil liberties can also be curtailed during wartime. The government can censor news that affects national security, such as reports of troop movements. It is within the power of Congress to enact SEDITION laws that prohibit political speech that disrupts the war effort or gives AID AND COMFORT to the enemy.

During the early months of U.S. involvement in World War II, President FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT ordered the removal of people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast. At the time the action was justified on national security grounds, because military commanders believed that California was vulnerable to Japanese spies and saboteurs. The U.S. Supreme Court, in KOREMATSU V. UNITED STATES, 323 U.S. 214, 65 S. Ct. 193, 89 L. Ed. 194 (1944), upheld the removal. Thousands of Japanese Americans lost their property and businesses and were "relocated" to concentration camps for the duration of the war.

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