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Court: President Has Discretion In Foreign Affairs


The expanse of executive and legislative powers enumerated in the Constitution comes before the U.S. Supreme Court in U.S. v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. The company had conspired to sell machine guns to Bolivia. The sale would have violated a joint resolution of Congress and a proclamation by President Franklin Roosevelt. Curtiss-Wright argues that Congress has unconstitutionally delegated legislative powers to the president. The Court disagrees. Justice George Sutherland writes that foreign trade and relations are inherent powers afforded to the executive under Article II of the Constitution. He says the president, as a representative of a nation, has a degree of discretion in handling external matters.