Jerry P. Shinley Archive:Subject: Garrison's Lawyer Defends War Powers
Garrison's Lawyer Defends War Powers
Date: Wed, 10 November 1999 09:56 AM EST
Eberhard Deutsch was a New Orleans attorney whose firm had once employed Jim Garrison. When Garrison, as D.A., was convicted of criminally libeling the criminal court judges of New Orleans, Deutsch argued the appeal before the U.S. Supreme court and won a reversal of the conviction on First Amendment grounds. In 1970, when some members of Congress were trying to limit Richard Nixon's military actions in Cambodia, Deutsch was asked to give an opinion:
New Orleans Times-Picayune June 21, 1970 S1-P5
Local Attorney Submits Report
Deutsch Ideas on Powers Released in D.C.
by Edgar Poe
Washington, D.C. - Historically, Presidents of the United States, in their constitutional capacity as commanders-in-chief of our armed forces, have deployed the military without consulting Congress.
Eberhard P. Deutsch, New Orleans constitutional attorney, in an 18-page opinion released in Washington Saturday [20th], traced the constitutional authority he maintains Presidents have pertaining to deployment of troops in highly sensitive areas.
The Deutsch opinion was delivered to Sen. Gordon L. Alliot of Colorado, a member of the Republican Policy Committee, who requested it. Both the Justice Department and the [Nixon] White House have copies.
The legal commentary grew out of the long-debated proposed amendment by Sens. John Sherman Cooper, Republican of Kentucky [and WC member], and Frank Church, Democrat of Idaho, designed to prevent any future military involvement in Cambodia, or elsewhere, without consent of Congress.
[Some excerpts from the Deutsch report:]
"From all the foregoing [historical examples], it should certainly seem abundantly clear that whenever a state of war exists - whether declared or undeclared - the President of the United States has, under the Constitution, as commander-in-chief, full and plenary power to conduct military operations in prosecution of the war, unhampered by anything in the nature of strategic legislative restrictions.
"Any other construction of the Constitution would so hamper the conduct of a war as to portend ultimate military defeat. The Constitution of the United States was never meant to be construed as a suicide pact."
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