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Events during the bicentennial year of the United States Constitution focused America's attention on the way in which that document both authorizes and structures an ongoing institutional struggle for dominance in the realm of foreign affairs. As the year progressed, constitutional clashes between the President and Congress spilled across the spectrum of U.S. foreign policymaking-covert operations, warmaking, arms control, foreign assistance, immigration, international human rights, emergency economic power, and international trade-even as those clashes marched across the front pages of the New York Times. The term "Iran-Contra affair" alone came to encompass a welter of statutory and constitutional disputes over the legal rights and duties of all three branches of the federal government: over the National Security Council's legal authority to conduct covert operations and the President's constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed; over Congress' constitutional authority to condition its power of the purse and its statutory right to be notified and consulted about arms sales and intelligence operations; and over the federal judiciary's constitutional authority to appoint special prosecutors and its duty to adjudicate or abstain in lawsuits engendered by foreign policy crises.

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