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IndyBuzz provides information about Central Indiana's most stimulating and thought provoking events -- discussions and conferences, art exhibitions, films, music performances. It tells you what's happening … explains why you should be part of what’s happening. More than an events calendar, though, IndyBuzz tries to make events more meaningful for participants by suggesting an article or two to read before the event, recommending books or websites that will be sources of further information after the event, and pointing out related events that are worth attending.

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Sept. 21: Andy Jacobs discusses "The War Powers Clause and the U.S. Constitution Today"

Constitution Café: "The War Powers Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11), and the U.S. Constitution Today" -- Andy Jacobs shares the wisdom and experience of half century of political experience to make sense of whether the Constitution is or should be relevant to the wars we are fighting today ... part of My Daily Constitution.

When: Thursday September 21: 7:00 - 9:00 PM

Where: The Indiana Historical Society 450 West Ohio St. Indianapolis 46202

John Clark chats with Andy Jacobs. Andy is a retired United States Congressman who served fifteen terms representing the 10th District of Indiana. While in office, Jacobs helped write the 1965 Voting Rights Act, led the House of Representatives' all-night debate on the Vietnam War in 1969, and served on the Ways and Means Committee. Jacobs received a B.A. and a J.D. from Indiana University. Prior to serving in Washington, Andy worked as a Marion County police officer, served as a Marine in the Korean War, and was elected to the Indiana General Assembly in 1958. His most recent book is 1600 Killers: A Wake-Up Call for Congress (New Iraq Edition), published in 2006. For a very good short bio of Andy, check out Nuvo's Cultural Visions Lifetime Achievement Award.

Of all of the fun events scheduled for My Daily Constitution, this one may be the most fun of all. IndyBuzz's take on the topic (which may be a bit gaudier than the official description):
The Constitution gives to Congress the exclusive right to declare war,
while designating the President commander-in-chief of the military. How
realistic is this division of power? In the country's history, Congress has
declared war just five times (most recently in World War II), while the
President has deployed troops outside the US more than 200 times. And can we
afford to be constrained by a Constitution written two centuries ago, before
globalization connected caves in Afghanistan to skyscrapers in New York, before
our enemies dreamt of holy suicide-murder, before weapons could rain down mass

I would like to treat this event as a debate with Andy Jacobs. But who can debate Andy Jacobs, a true force of nature ... an eloquent, funny, wise, witty force of nature. As I tell students, even if every one of Andy's stories about his 30 years in Congress were false, they would be worth paying to hear ... and even better, they are all true! So this won't be a debate, I have no desire to look like an ignoramus in front of hundreds of people. It's a chance to have a deep conversation with a man I admire enormously.

But IndyBuzz does have questions it keeps pondering. The dark and terrible problems that face the world in the 21st century -- disease, poverty, increasingly intractible social conflicts waged with increasingly deadly weapons, you know the list -- may require strong leadership by a powerful United States to be solved. If solving these problems is incompatible with this Constitution, why should following the Constitution trump the solutions? I think I know the answer, but I may get another when I have the coolest gig in policy-wonkdom: chatting with Andy Jacobs about the Constitution.

For more information ... When the title of an event has the assigned reading in it -- "War Powers Clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11)" -- you know your assigned reading. You can get a free copy of the Constitution at libraries and bookstores across the city. You can get a nice background to the legal thinking about Clause 11 (and Clauses 12, 13, and 14, which also pertain to war and foreign policy) from FindLaw.

The discussion will be shaped by the 1973 "War Power Resolution," which Congress intended to reclaim powers they had seen eroding. Weeks after 9/11, the Congressional Research Service prepared an excellent overview of the first 28 years of the War Powers Resolution.

One's first thought after hearing Andy Jacobs often is: "I gotta read more!" Hear are some suggestions of books you might read after this event.

About the venue: The Indiana Historical Society first formed in 1830 with such aims as collecting materials that relate to the “natural, civil, and political history of Indiana” and the “promotion of useful knowledge.” After many years of few meetings and low membership, the IHS was reorganized in 1886. Since then, it has met annually and now publishes bulletins, books, newsletters, and other materials, including one Pulitzer Prize-winning book published in 1950. The IHS’s William Henry Smith Memorial Library, established in 1922, houses one of the world’s largest collections of Indiana and Old Northwest history-related material that includes more than 1.6 million photographs and 7,400 manuscript collections.

If you like this event ... Check out the Constitutional Cafés with Claudia Porretti and Ed DeLaney.

To return to the IndyBuzz schedule of My Daily Constitution events, click here.

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