Segments in this Video

Introduction: Intelligence Squared U.S. (03:21)


Prof. Nicholas Rosenkranz explains the framework of constitutionality surrounding the debate and why declaring war is a constitutionally tangled action.

Debate "Housekeeping" (06:15)

Moderator John Donvan explains the format of this IQ2 U.S. debate, introduces the panel members for each side, and instructs the audience of the pre-debate vote.

For the Motion: Deborah Pearlstein (06:37)

Asst. Prof. at the Cardozo School of Law, Pearlstein states the Constitution clearly divides the power over armed forces and the ability to make war between the executive and Congress. She notes the constitutional text, defining "force less than war," and military activities this year.

Against the Motion: Phillip Bobbitt (06:33)

Columbia Law School Professor and University of Texas Senior Lecturer, Bobbitt agrees with the constitutional text. He believes that Congress approved the president's war against the Islamic State. He cites a joint resolution in place to deter new attacks against the U.S., recent legislation appropriating air attacks on ISIL, and the 1898 Philippines War.

For the Motion: Gene Healy (06:21)

KATO Institute Vice President and author, Healy states the president does not have constitutional power to unilaterally authorize a military attack when a situation does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. He cites Obama's authorization of the 2008 bombing campaign against Libya and the ongoing conflict against ISIS.

Against the Motion: Akhil Reed Amar (06:21)

Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale, Amar states that the AUMF is a congressional self-described authorization of the use of military force. He stresses the specific language used in the resolution and the tactics and purpose of ISIL.

2001 Congressional Authorization (06:06)

Donvan summarizes the positions for the proponents and opposition. Pearlstein argues that the authorization does not apply to ISIL; Bobbitt counters with a statement by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Healy and Amar argue the origin and mission of ISIL.

Associated Forces and Authorization (02:31)

Pearlstein and Amar argue the president's authority to declare someone an enemy and site Guantanamo prisoners as examples. Bobbitt counters that federal courts held that the Islamic State is an associated force with Al-Qaeda; panelists argue Congress' authorization of funds for air attacks on Islamic State.

Constitutional Text (06:37)

Panelists debate the language of the Constitution that provides power over the president and the language of the AUMF. They argue the need to name the enemy and ISIL's association with Al-Qaeda.

Malleability of War (02:53)

Healy states that the president has residual powers that allow flexibility with modern warfare, but there must be an imminent threat to the country for him to use the Article Two power. Amar states that the 2008 action in Libya was not a war.

Defining War (01:48)

Donvan introduces the audience question and answer portion of the debate and asks the proponents to address the opposition's claim that Libya was not a war. Healy cites Secretary of Defense Gates' failed argument claiming the same; Bobbitt cites the UN security council resolution.

Q&A: Declaration of War vs. AUMF (02:52)

Proponents and the opposition debate the definition of a declaration of war and the use of military force. Pearlstein cites the 2001 authorization of military force and the invocation of the international law of war.

Q&A: ISIL Degree of Separation (03:21)

Bobbitt states what it would take to justify a new resolution. Healy states the administration changed its criteria for identifying Al-Qaeda associated forces.

Q&A: Effects of a New AUMF (01:31)

Amar states that a new AUMF would supersede the existing one and the wording of the document could provide added authority for current actions in Iraq and Syria.

Q&A: Determining Affiliations with Al-Qaeda (05:38)

Bobbitt states that Congress is the president's standard of review for determination. The panel debates the Libyan conflict and Congress appropriating funds.

Q&A: Presidential Authority (02:53)

Amar states that the president's authority would not change even if a new AUMF does not pass. Pearlstein discusses the necessity of a new resolution.

Concluding Statement For: Gene Healy (02:39)

A vote against the motion means accepting extraordinary propositions; he provides several examples. Constitutional values demand debate and authorization for authorizing deadly force.

Concluding Statement Against: Akhil Reed Amar (01:57)

Some of the leaders of ISIL were leaders of Al-Qaeda on 9/11. The AUMF was not limited to targeting only Al-Qaeda.

Concluding Statement For: Deborah Pearlstein (02:23)

There is enough of a difference between Al-Qaeda and ISIL that a new AUMF is necessary; going to war is supposed to be difficult.

Concluding Statement Against: Phillip Bobbitt (01:58)

People should be confident in the legal basis of the legal basis for the president's actions against ISIL and dubious of the opinion that a global network of terror is a fantasy.

National Constitution Center (05:02)

Donvan instructs the audience to vote and introduces Jeffrey Rosen and Ed Morrison. Rosen believes it is important for the public to hear debates about constitutional questions that are at the heart of democracy.

Columbia University Mission (02:58)

Ed Morrison believes constitutional debates shape the way people perceive America and that Intelligence Squared provides the opportunity to engage the public in a meaningful way.

Audience Vote Results (01:26)

Donvan introduces upcoming debates. Pre-debate - For: 27 - Against: 33 - Undecided: 40 Post-debate - For: 38 - Against: 53

Credits: he President Has Exceeded His Constitutional Authority by Waging War without Congressional Authorization: A Debate (00:58)

Credits: he President Has Exceeded His Constitutional Authority by Waging War without Congressional Authorization: A Debate

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The President Has Exceeded His Constitutional Authority by Waging War without Congressional Authorization: A Debate

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In 2014 and 2015, President Obama launched a heavy, long-term bombing campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. But did he have constitutional authority to do so? The U.S. Constitution carefully divides the war powers of the U.S. government between the legislative and executive branches. Article I states that "Congress shall have Power … To declare War," but Article II states that "The President shall be Commander in Chief" of the armed forces. Congress never declared war on ISIS but enacted legislation in 2001 authorizing the president to take military action against terrorists linked to the 9/11 attacks. In bombing ISIS, did President Obama exceed his power and violate the Constitution?

Length: 92 minutes

Item#: BVL94774

ISBN: 978-1-68272-107-0

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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