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Mora v. McNamara

Citation. 389 U.S. 934, 88 S.Ct. 282, 19 L.Ed.2d 287 (1967).
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Citation. 389 U.S. 934, 88 S.Ct. 282, 19 L.Ed.2d 287 (1967).

Brief Fact Summary.

Soldiers brought suit against the U.S. Army to stop deployment to Vietnam.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

Congress and the President are granted great deference when dealing with issues of war.


Petitioners were drafted into the U.S. Army and were scheduled to deploy to Vietnam. They brought suit to prevent the Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Army from carrying out the orders, requesting a declaratory judgement that the military activity in Vietnam was “illegal.”


Whether the writ of certiorari should be denied.


Yes. The writ of certiorari is denied.


JJustice Stewart

Does military activity in Vietnam constitute war under Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution? If yes, can soldiers, such as the petitioners, participate when war has not been declared by Congress? The Supreme Court needs to answer these important questions. The phrase “to declare war” was meant to be a check on executive power and we should address the matter by granting certiorari.

Justice Douglas

The questions posed by J. Stewart cover a wide range of issues explored further by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. There, a representative from the Administration testified before the Committee that the Founding Fathers considered the President may have to take emergency action to protect the U.S. If there was going to be another use of armed forces, however, Congress must weigh in. Similarly here, a declaration of war would not reflect the limited objectives of the U.S. in Vietnam. Congress must also serve in a more active role.

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