National Security Law and the Power of the Purse

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National Security Law and the Power of the Purse

By William C. Banks and Peter Raven-Hansen
Oxford University Press, 1994
260 pp. $39.95
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A lawyerly work, nearly a third of which consists of footnotes, and marred by ponderous and glutinous prose (as common as it is unnecessary at the bar). The authors have a wonderful subject -- the ability of Congress to control executive branch action in matters of national security through the power of the purse. They reach back to the early period of American history, but for the most part concentrate on more recent developments, particularly in the 1980s. If one has the patience to wade through it, this is a useful introduction to one of those elements that makes the foreign policy powers of the U.S. Constitution "an invitation to struggle."

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