Effect of a Repeal of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution

Headnotes: 

Because the President’s inherent constitutional authority to employ military force abroad depends to a very considerable extent on the circumstances of the case, and, in particular, the extent to which such use of force is deemed essential for the preservation of American lives and property or the protection of American security interests, it is impossible to state in concrete terms the legal effect of a repeal of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

Such a repeal standing alone would not only throw into question the legal basis for certain actions the President might deem it desirable to take in the national interest, but would also demonstrate to foreign powers lack of firm national support for the carrying out of the policies set forth in the joint resolutions.

Updated July 9, 2014