The Yale Law Journal

June 2018

Reviving the Power of the Purse: Appropriations Clause Litigation and National Security Law

National SecuritySeparation of PowersCongress

abstract. The rise of the modern national security state has been accompanied by a vast expansion of executive power. Congress’s strongest check against unilateral presidential action— the power of the purse—has so far been ineffective in combating this constitutional imbalance. But developments in legislative standing doctrine may make it possible for congressional plaintiffs to challenge executive violations of the Appropriations Clause. Those evolutions could enable Congress to use the Appropriations Clause to reassert its role in national security decision making and restore the constitutional balance the Framers crafted.

author. Yale Law School, J.D. 2017. Thanks to Oona Hathaway for her feedback and encouragement, and to Neal Katyal for his guidance and support. I am also grateful to Noah Lindell, Urja Mittal, Adrienne Lee, Andrea Levien, Rebecca Ojserkis, and Theodore Rostow for their helpful conversations and support in the development of this piece. Additional thanks to Max Siegel for his insightful comments and editorial suggestions, as well as to Anthony Sampson, Arjun Ramamurti, and all the editors of the Yale Law Journal for their careful editing. All arguments and errors in this Note are my own.