Panel 2: The President's War Powers and Congressional Authorization
The second panel of Pepperdine's symposium was an examination of the scope of the President's military powers under Article II, focusing on when he can act unilaterally and when he must have the approval of Congress. At least that's what the symposium schedule said, but it turned out be an endorsement of the President's broad unitary power and a condemnation of Hamdan. The panel discussion began with an introduction by Pepperdine Law School Professor Bernard James, which included a brief discussion of the Prize Cases and Youngstown.
The first speaker was supposed to be Akhil Reed Amar, the famed constitutional law scholar and progenitor of the geostrategic theory of constitutional interpretation, but he was unable to attend. In his stead, Robert Pushaw, a Pepperdine law professor and the symposium organizer, read a letter from Amar, elucidating some of Amar's ideas regarding the role of the executive in a time of national crisis. Pushaw infused the reading with his own vivacious sense of humor, which made for a very informative and amusing oration, setting the tone for the entire panel discussion.