NYT: Obama overruled top Pentagon, DOJ lawyers on Libya war powers

posted at 10:32 pm on June 17, 2011 by Allahpundit

No “Quotes of the Day” post today. This is big enough that I don’t want anything new on the site distracting from it overnight.

The Times is treating it as the major story that it is, but under a Republican president (especially one named, say, George Bush) it would be a scandal of nuclear proportions. What they’re basically saying here, without actually saying it, is that the president’s own lawyers told him that the Libya war is illegal and he responded by looking around for other lawyers who’d tell him what he wanted to hear.

The congressional hearings begin on Monday, I hope.

Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of “hostilities.” Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.

Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch

The administration followed an unusual process in developing its position. Traditionally, the Office of Legal Counsel solicits views from different agencies and then decides what the best interpretation of the law is. The attorney general or the president can overrule its views, but rarely do.

In this case, however, Ms. Krass was asked to submit the Office of Legal Counsel’s thoughts in a less formal way to the White House, along with the views of lawyers at other agencies. After several meetings and phone calls, the rival legal analyses were submitted to Mr. Obama, who is a constitutional lawyer, and he made the decision.

See what he did here? The OLC is typically called “the president’s law firm” because it’s tasked with advising him on what he can and can’t legally do with his office. They study the law and consult with relevant agencies, and then they make a formal determination to guide his actions. That’s what should have happened here — they likely would have determined that he was violating the War Powers Act, which in turn would have forced him to go to Congress and finally request formal authorization of the mission. (In fact, Johnson, the Pentagon’s counsel, reportedly told Obama he’d be on firmer ground if he stopped the drone strikes, at least. Obama refused.) This time, because he almost certainly knew that they’d tell him that he was in violation, he bypassed the normal procedures to avoid a binding ruling and treated the OLC as if it was just one lawyer among many. He rigged the game because he knew what the probable outcome would be if he didn’t. Disgraceful.

Ironically, Boehner’s now in almost as tough a position as Obama is. He’s the one who confronted O about the War Powers Act after Kucinich forced his hand; now he’ll have to figure out what the proper congressional response to this should be. Does the House hold hearings? Vote to defund the mission, citing Krass and Johnson for authority that it’s illegal? File suit in federal court charging Obama with violating the WPA, even though any court will almost certainly refuse to rule on it on “political question” grounds? And what happens to O’s supporters on Libya in Congress, especially among Democrats, now that his warmaking has been deemed renegade by his own core legal team? This doofus almost certainly could have gotten congressional authorization shortly after the mission began if he’d asked for it, but for reasons I still don’t understand, he refused. I guess he wants to maximize his presidential prerogative to use drones anywhere he likes, notwithstanding Johnson’s assessment that that’s enough to constitute “hostilities” under the WPA, in order to give himself a free hand in Yemen and beyond. Good work, champ — you’ve now forced a high stakes, politically risky separation-of-powers confrontation with Congress over a conflict to which virtually no one has paid attention for weeks.

Here’s Harry Reid insisting that the War Powers Act doesn’t apply here, and even if it did, “this thing’s going to be over before you know it anyway.” Which is basically what Obama himself said — three months ago. Remember “days, not weeks”? Exit question: That’s going to be one awkward round of golf, huh? Click the image to watch.

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canopfor on June 17, 2011 at 11:56 PM

Fantastic link, thanks canopfor!! Fisher has been great on the war powers issue, hot air commenter jp hardest hit!

Firefly_76 on June 17, 2011 at 11:59 PM

Firefly_76:I was digging for the law suit thingy,anytime:)

canopfor on June 18, 2011 at 12:05 AM

Maybe the White House can help Congress understand why U.S. troops are entitled to combat pay absent “hostilities!!
flyfisher on June 18, 2011 at 12:01 AM

I was wondering that also. And G-d forbid a serviceman dies or is injured, aren’t certain compensation and benefits tied to whether the injuries were sustained in combat?

Firefly_76 on June 18, 2011 at 12:05 AM

Seven Percent Solution on June 17, 2011 at 11:26 PM

THIS!

FreedomSlave on June 18, 2011 at 12:08 AM

The President is…dare we say it…LAWLESS.

Now it’s official.

Of course, the left will still vote for him.

Good Lt on June 18, 2011 at 12:08 AM

Connie on June 17, 2011 at 11:40 PM

That and don’t forget the oil. Briatin [sic] and France have huge stakes in Libya oil. Don’t forget BP. Obama is just a BP shill.

promachus on June 17, 2011 at 11:45 PM

Yes.

Connie on June 18, 2011 at 12:11 AM

If Congress doesn’t defund this immediately, The United States might as well drop the facade of a legitimate Republic and admit that we are living in a plutocratic oligarchy…

equanimous on June 18, 2011 at 12:13 AM

If Congress doesn’t defund this immediately, The United States might as well drop the facade of a legitimate Republic and admit that we are living in a plutocratic oligarchy…

equanimous on June 18, 2011 at 12:13 AM

equanimous:
=============

House Leadership: Bill to Defund Libya War Coming Soon
Boehner Slams Obama Claims that Libya War Doesn’t Require Congressional Support
June 16 2011
***************

Members of the House Republican leadership announced today their intentions to move forward with a bill to defund the war in Libya, barring a major change of perspective from the Obama Administration, which yesterday claimed the war was immune to the War Powers Act requirement for Congressional support for deploying US troops overseas.

House Speaker John Boehner (R – OH) slammed the claim, insisting that the suggestion does not “pass the straight face test.” Indeed, the letter and spirit of the act, passed during the Vietnam War era, make the administration’s claim extremely difficult to understand.
(More………….)

http://news.antiwar.com/2011/06/16/house-leadership-bill-to-defund-libya-war-coming-soon/

canopfor on June 18, 2011 at 12:19 AM

Otay,I’m out,

GoodNight,and Happy Impeachment Dreams(sarc)

================================================:)

canopfor on June 18, 2011 at 12:22 AM

HalJordan is all-fired up that the American military will be just fine with implementing martial law for Obama come 2012 and abobo breaks out the “well, since Obama’s got some African in ‘im, he’s just roarin with opportunity to act like them other dictators over in Africa” crap.

Really?

Did some wayward Kos ‘tards get hold of some older HA usernames or something?

catmman on June 18, 2011 at 12:22 AM

canopfor on June 18, 2011 at 12:19 AM

whew…

equanimous on June 18, 2011 at 12:23 AM

If Boehner doesn’t have the stones to do what’s necessary, then he should step aside. Obama’s Libyan adventures should be defunded right now. As I’ve said before, a rogue Libyan dictator in North Africa isn’t nearly as bad as a rogue president at home. He is brazenly testing the mettle of Congress by wiping his posterior with our Constitution. Tough rhetoric and letters are insufficient. We’ve got to pressure our representatives to do what’s necessry to restore the rule of law.

flyfisher on June 18, 2011 at 12:26 AM

Does Congress have the guts to try to impeach Obama should it be applicable?

hadsil on June 18, 2011 at 12:28 AM

The economy is Obama’s weak point. I think it should be a low key investigation so his poor handling of the economy will stay on the front page.

csdeven on June 18, 2011 at 12:30 AM

The Spelunker of the House won’t do a dang thing besides posture…

Gohawgs on June 18, 2011 at 12:31 AM

That he couldn’t get Khadaffi in a few weeks is what is really troubling.

Wrangling with lawyers to get your political way in a unique international situation is nothing surprising.

But Obama’s overall weakness, military diffidence, mixed signals, fatuous bluster and smug foolishness are the real problems.

If you can’t crush a pismire like the crazy Colonel in under a month, you undermine America’s power in the eyes of future maniac dictators.

profitsbeard on June 18, 2011 at 12:33 AM

This “President” could commit a bona fide criminal action and he would WALK.

Incredible.

Opposite Day on June 18, 2011 at 12:35 AM

Wow. Talk about your cowboy in the Oval Office…

Washington Nearsider on June 18, 2011 at 12:36 AM

HalJordan is all-fired up that the American military will be just fine with implementing martial law for Obama come 2012 and abobo breaks out the “well, since Obama’s got some African in ‘im, he’s just roarin with opportunity to act like them other dictators over in Africa” crap.

Really?

Obama has violated the United States Constitution repeatedly. How many generals have ever resigned in protest? How many Colonels?

Did some wayward Kos ‘tards get hold of some older HA usernames or something?

catmman on June 18, 2011 at 12:22 AM

That doesn’t even make any sense. You must try to do better.

HalJordan on June 18, 2011 at 12:36 AM

Mr. Obama, who is a constitutional lawyer,

Yeah………on paper.

GarandFan on June 18, 2011 at 12:38 AM

He gives us a new reason to march on DC every day. flyfisher and Firefly_76, I have been wondering the same thing…AND this REALLY upsets me…a while back Drudge pointed out the deaths of OUR troops were being cloaked (so to speak) in the media reports, because they weren’t being identified as Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marines, but rather a generic ‘NATO’ label. Thus not alarming the public in the same fashion as the cold hard truth does. And, even worse, our troops in this ridiculous ‘kinetic’ action are living, fighting and dying under Obama’s cloak of ‘transparency’. I resent the heck out of that. It’s not fair to them, their families, or us.

Minorcan Maven on June 18, 2011 at 12:39 AM

Does Congress have the guts to try to impeach Obama should it be applicable?

hadsil on June 18, 2011 at 12:28 AM

Unfortunately, that’s jumping the gun a bit. First, they have to hold hearings, and issue a ruling holding him in contempt of the WPA. That will lead to a constitutional challenge, something that is really needed for that Vietnam-era piece of legislation anyway. It was passed by Democrats as a slap against Nixon for purely political purposes and with no regard for who it got killed in theater. A ruling on whether it violates the separation of powers is long overdue. Congress still holds the power of the purse and can use that as well — that would be much more in line with constitutional authority.

Frankly, Project Gunrunner is a much more legitimate and potentially more reasonable approach toward getting O or at least some of his minions prosecuted and out of office.

AZfederalist on June 18, 2011 at 12:40 AM

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” -Lord Acton

katy on June 18, 2011 at 12:41 AM

It’s good to be the king.

Hubris-addled child gone wild.

hillbillyjim on June 18, 2011 at 12:42 AM

canopfor on June 18, 2011 at 12:22 AM

Goodnight my friend…

… Thanks for all your excellent work!

Seven Percent Solution on June 18, 2011 at 12:42 AM

Wilsonian.

Nelsen on June 18, 2011 at 12:42 AM

Somebody needs to get off of somebody’s lawn.

I’m not saying who (Jugears), but somebody has their head up their ass.

hillbillyjim on June 18, 2011 at 12:43 AM

Mr. Obama, who is a constitutional lawyer,

Yeah………on paper.

GarandFan on June 18, 2011 at 12:38 AM

-
He’s still practicing… Aiming as close to the line as possible… and often missing the legal side completely.
-

RalphyBoy on June 18, 2011 at 12:46 AM

Would Bush have done the same thing, given the circumstances?

Del Dolemonte on June 18, 2011 at 12:03 AM

No, considering he went and got Congressional approval for both of his wars.

jawkneemusic on June 18, 2011 at 12:47 AM

When you’ve lost the the folks commenting over at the New York Times, it’s time for impeachment.

Knucklehead on June 18, 2011 at 12:54 AM

Mr. Obama, who is a constitutional lawyer…

Do we have proof of that? We’ve never seen his college transcripts. I don’t recall him releasing any licenses from the state bar proving he’s a constitutional lawyer. Heck, we haven’t even heard from any of his students. Think about it. For someone who is suppose to be a constitutional lawyer, he sure knows nothing about it…unless it’s the Soviet Constitution.

mizflame98 on June 18, 2011 at 12:56 AM

Would Bush have done the same thing, given the circumstances?

Del Dolemonte on June 18, 2011 at 12:03 AM

What circumstances?

Ronnie on June 18, 2011 at 12:59 AM

When you’ve lost the the folks commenting over at the New York Times, it’s time for impeachment.

Knucklehead on June 18, 2011 at 12:54 AM

Will never happen. You think they play the race card heavy now; just try to impeach Barry. There will be (astro-turf) race riots in the streets.

mizflame98 on June 18, 2011 at 1:00 AM

Mr. Obama, who is a constitutional lawyer,

Yeah………on paper.
GarandFan on June 18, 2011 at 12:38 AM

Not even on paper. It is a complete myth.
The only time he even looked at the Constitution was to try to find loopholes.

LegendHasIt on June 18, 2011 at 1:02 AM

Good, this man hasn’t been made to feel in real trouble yet. And he is.

AshleyTKing on June 18, 2011 at 1:02 AM

constitutional lawyer, he sure knows nothing about it…unless it’s the Soviet Constitution.

mizflame98 on June 18, 2011 at 12:56 AM

Let’s just say his view of the Constitution is a bit different from that of most Americans. To Americans, it is meant to limit the power of the government to impact their lives. To Urkel, it is an impediment to be gotten around, ignored, or re-interpreted to allow him and his cronies to impact the lives of each and every American. That is what being a constitutional lawyer means to him — he’s looking for the loopholes.

AZfederalist on June 18, 2011 at 1:04 AM

Wow. Talk about your cowboy in the Oval Office…

Washington Nearsider on June 18, 2011 at 12:36 AM

More like kamikaze.

FloatingRock on June 18, 2011 at 1:08 AM

Rezco
Americorps IG firing
Jaczko
Gunrunner Obama ‘Did Not Know About Or Authorize’

One of these days….

AshleyTKing on June 18, 2011 at 1:13 AM

To Urkel, it is an impediment to be gotten around, ignored, or re-interpreted to allow him and his cronies to impact the lives of each and every American. That is what being a constitutional lawyer means to him — he’s looking for the loopholes.

AZfederalist on June 18, 2011 at 1:04 AM

Actually he says it showed deep flaws and it’s a charter of negative liberties.

mizflame98 on June 18, 2011 at 1:13 AM

I think the best and most insightful explanation so far was the earlier poster (I read it earlier today), who pointed out that this was the groundwork for being able to send troops and weaponry to support U.N. wars – as supposedly being something different and higher than other wars – with Samantha Power having a lot to do with it.

Alana on June 18, 2011 at 1:14 AM

… being different and higher than our own wars, in our own national interest, I mean.

Subjugating our sovereignty to the U.N. of course.

Alana on June 18, 2011 at 1:15 AM

Subjugating our sovereignty to the U.N. of course.

Alana on June 18, 2011 at 1:15 AM

And don’t forget who brought that up in the CNN um um uh King “debate.”

AshleyTKing on June 18, 2011 at 1:16 AM

Defund this charade now…

This is a sad day for the Republic. God help us, please.

Khun Joe on June 18, 2011 at 1:19 AM

Why all the racist hating? I keed, I keed.

Mallard T. Drake on June 18, 2011 at 1:28 AM

Luckily for us the MSM will be asking the important questions. Coke or Pepsi, Mr. President, and how many millions of American children are the Republicans starving today?

Punchenko on June 18, 2011 at 1:37 AM

This is a sad day for the Republic. God help us, please.

Khun Joe on June 18, 2011 at 1:19 AM

I second that prayer. I’d really rather not live in “interesting times.” I’d prefer they be much more boring.

theotherone on June 18, 2011 at 1:48 AM

This doofus almost certainly could have gotten congressional authorization shortly after the mission began if he’d asked for it, but for reasons I still don’t understand, he refused. I guess he wants to maximize his presidential prerogative to use drones anywhere he likes,

I think there is a little more to it than just using UAVs. I think Obama is trying to set precedent so that he can provide US military resources in any/all NATO actions w/o authorization from congress, and without US leadership of our forces in said actions.

JeffVader on June 18, 2011 at 1:51 AM

First, they have to hold hearings, and issue a ruling holding him in contempt of the War Powers Act. . . That will lead to a constitutional challenge.

Sorry, no. When you break the law and the House is the grand jury impeaching you, you don’t get to plead that the law is wrong.

The Senate will decide if he’s guilty. The Supreme Court will stay out of this, except for the Chief Justice of the United States, who will preside over the trial.

Emperor Norton on June 18, 2011 at 1:56 AM

It would be so much easier being president of China.

KMC1 on June 18, 2011 at 2:03 AM

The President is…dare we say it…LAWLESS.

Now it’s official.

Of course, the left will still vote for him.

Good Lt on June 18, 2011 at 12:08 AM

This pretty much sums it up. It is beyond my comprehension why the leadership, both Republican and Democrat has let this a-hole get away with this, so far. He must be stopped.

JannyMae on June 18, 2011 at 2:08 AM

Sadly there will be nationwide race riots if the idea of impeachment even begins to gain traction. What Clinton did doesn’t even begin to compare to what this President is doing. At the very least we should defund this immediately. I say go after pulling out of the UN as well.

Nelsen on June 18, 2011 at 2:15 AM

Obama the War President.

TN Mom on June 18, 2011 at 2:21 AM

there’ll be riots if the Rs win in 12 I’m afraid. Look at WI. The only reason the left is quiet is Obama…if he’s out with the current economy there will be riots and protests everywhere. The left is not going peacefully. They want money and power.

r keller on June 18, 2011 at 2:22 AM

Subjugating our sovereignty to the U.N. of course.

Alana on June 18, 2011 at 1:15 AM

And don’t forget who brought that up in the CNN um um uh King “debate.”

AshleyTKing on June 18, 2011 at 1:16 AM

Who?

Alana on June 18, 2011 at 2:26 AM

Who?

Alana on June 18, 2011 at 2:26 AM

A certain Doctor from Texas I believe.

Nelsen on June 18, 2011 at 2:30 AM

Would Bush have done the same thing, given the circumstances?

Del Dolemonte on June 18, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Absolutely. In fact, he would have went much further.

Admittedly, I don’t know very much about this area of law, but on first blush, I disagree with the President’s position. I think his position is defensible, but I don’t think it’s correct.

Having said that, it’s encouraging to see commenters here passionate about issues of executive power. Frankly, I didn’t seen this kind of passion during the Bush administration, but still…better late than never. If you’re concerned about this issue, I’d urge you to read more about the opinions John Yoo wrote during the Bush years. I’m sure you’ll be at the very least, equally outraged, and if you’d like further reading, just ask me. Welcome to the right side of the issue. I hope you’ll stay with us in the future.

crr6 on June 18, 2011 at 2:38 AM

After Bonher has golf and tea with Hussein, Congress should vote his arse OUT of the Speaker’s seat. What a humiliation he is to our party.

leftnomore on June 18, 2011 at 2:40 AM

Man up, Boehner.

Wipe away your tears, and drop a pair.

Flyboy on June 18, 2011 at 2:48 AM

Absolutely. In fact, he would have went much further.

crr6 on June 18, 2011 at 2:38 AM

Bullsh*t.

Flyboy on June 18, 2011 at 2:50 AM

That’s a peace prize!

WisCon on June 18, 2011 at 2:53 AM

It all depends upon what the meaning of “Constitution” is…

Ya’ll can’t be having something like that cause it limits mah government too much – just ask Michell or my two teleprompters.

Don L on June 18, 2011 at 2:57 AM

How many conflicts do you have to have to get the Nobel Committee to upgrade you from Peace Prize to Dictator Prize?

They give those out, don’t they?

trigon on June 18, 2011 at 3:06 AM

That’s a peace prize!

WisCon on June 18, 2011 at 2:53 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnLqoRtUAVg

:-)

yubley on June 18, 2011 at 3:09 AM

This act by Obie makes me sad in the fact that he has lowered the status of POTUS to this level!!.It is truly sad!..:(

Dire Straits on June 18, 2011 at 3:21 AM

News: Sometime in the near future…

The congress fills out the impeachment papers -he calls it racism -comes in for authority, neutralizing the illegality charges of the entire deal – and wins in 2012 with slightly more than 110% voter turnout in the usual communities. Holder verifies the 110% vote as being an anomolly, but within the boundary of the constitution.

The UN agrees, passing a death penalty resolution against racism in all subordinate national elections.Demands all ownership of personal guns in such situation be collected by their blue helmeted folks.

Andrew Breitbart gets arrested for pointing his finger at one in an intimidating manner while Chrales Krauthammer and Karl Rove blame Sarah Palin for the entire mess. The NYT runs a front page story about the declining parakeet population on Pago Pago and the last world war vet in despair, commits suicide.

Don L on June 18, 2011 at 3:22 AM

Who?

Alana on June 18, 2011 at 2:26 AM

Michelle Bachmann did. It was a high point in the “debate.” It was just a cut above the rest: beyond a talking point. She was saying, he there is this unconstitutional deployment of our armed forces and it is not acceptable.

AshleyTKing on June 18, 2011 at 3:23 AM

It is truly sad!..:(

Dire Straits on June 18, 2011 at 3:21 AM

Turn that frown around..:)

DarkCurrent on June 18, 2011 at 3:36 AM

Absolutely. In fact, he would have went much further.

Admittedly, I don’t know very much about this area of law, but on first blush, I disagree with the President’s position. I think his position is defensible, but I don’t think it’s correct.

Having said that, it’s encouraging to see commenters here passionate about issues of executive power. Frankly, I didn’t seen this kind of passion during the Bush administration, but still…better late than never. If you’re concerned about this issue, I’d urge you to read more about the opinions John Yoo wrote during the Bush years. I’m sure you’ll be at the very least, equally outraged, and if you’d like further reading, just ask me. Welcome to the right side of the issue. I hope you’ll stay with us in the future.

crr6 on June 18, 2011 at 2:38 AM

Are you effing kidding me?! Were you in a coma during Bush’s Presidency? He went to Congress and got the approval he needed for both wars! You’re not living in reality. Thus is the legacy of the hypocritical left. How can you say what he “would have done” when what HE DID was the complete opposite! Goodness you’re a freaking loon!

jawkneemusic on June 18, 2011 at 3:45 AM

Should we be surprised that “progressive” dems are no different than those would ran the Soviet Union? The rule of Law is a tool to be used by them when it suits their purposes. Otherwise, Laws aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on…

Gohawgs on June 18, 2011 at 3:48 AM

NYT cut off comments on this story. I read all 106 and if the comments there represent the pulse of the electorate, “the obama experiment” will soon be over.

No wonder NYT stopped the comments. I saw a lot of comments from liberals who are very peeved by this.

carbon_footprint on June 18, 2011 at 3:48 AM

would should be “who”…

Gohawgs on June 18, 2011 at 3:48 AM

carbon_footprint

Have you seen my email?…

Gohawgs on June 18, 2011 at 3:54 AM

Thanks, Ashley.

And yes, jawknee, crr is a freaking loon. Or just a deliberately dishonest person.

Alana on June 18, 2011 at 4:02 AM

I wish NYT hadn’t cut off those comments. I was enjoying them.

Alana on June 18, 2011 at 4:03 AM

How can you say what he “would have done” when what HE DID was the complete opposite! Goodness you’re a freaking loon!

jawkneemusic on June 18, 2011 at 3:45 AM

Absolutely. But she knows that.

redeye on June 18, 2011 at 4:05 AM

Well who remains in this administration to stand against our tin pot dictator? Gates is gone. Power is a crypto-Marxist with anti-semetic leanings and a closet anarcho-syndicalist pursuing the destruction of Israel, the end of American hegemony, and subjugation of our national interest to the UN, which dovetails nicely with the little we’ve learned of Obama. That leaves Hillary. What will she do?

Ted Torgerson on June 18, 2011 at 4:36 AM

Don L on June 18, 2011 at 3:22 AM

Now that is good.

HalJordan on June 18, 2011 at 5:41 AM

But does he find the constitutional crisis enchanting?

Tuning Spork on June 18, 2011 at 5:44 AM

Coming soon: a “National Emergency” requiring suspension of the 2012 election.

n0doz on June 18, 2011 at 6:16 AM

Cloward & Piven…overload every aspect of society, the more wars the more $$$ spent, the greater the social divide among the masses, the greater the unrest in an ever increasingly unstable world….yep thats the 0bama M.O. to a tee.

NY Conservative on June 18, 2011 at 6:18 AM

Absolutely. In fact, he would have went much further.

[b]Admittedly, I don’t know very much about this area of law[/b]

crr6 on June 18, 2011 at 2:38 AM

LOL, big surprise there. When you say you don’t know much about this area of the law, you are simply trying to buy more time so like Harold Koh you can find a way to twist the law to mean what you want it to mean for your President. As I have said before and it is now confirmed, you aren’t a liberal, you’re a partisan.

As for your speaking for Bush, try not to predict what he would do in a hypothetical scenario when history has proven that he would go to Congress first. You have two examples of this, Afghanistan and Iraq, yet you insist he would have done otherwise? Have fun chasing ambulances, it’s the only type of law hacks like you can make a living in.

Daemonocracy on June 18, 2011 at 6:23 AM

The Constitutionality of the War Powers Act is itself unsettled. The Constitution grants the Congress the power to declare war but does it require the President to seek such a declaration before committing forces? The fact that Presidents have done so without a declaration since Jefferson’s day puts paid to that. Aside from declaring war, under what Constitutional authority can the Congress direct the Executive’s prosecution of foreign affairs?

Congress controls the power of the purse. That is true with or without a WPA. If they want to defund the war that is always their prerogative.

MJBrutus on June 18, 2011 at 6:39 AM

Gohawgs on June 18, 2011 at 3:48 AM

Very simply put and quite eloquent. The media doubling down on this clown has helped to give us the tyrant in chief.
Will the media report the tryant in chief like they did George Bush ?

Gracelynn on June 18, 2011 at 6:40 AM

If we have no boots on the ground there is no danger in defunding the operation. Boehner needs to lead. Pelosi still knows how to get on TV.

Greek Fire on June 18, 2011 at 6:42 AM

Shorter crr6: *sputter* *deflect* *lash out*

First laugh of the day. You slay me, kid. Oh, and it’s “would have gone.”

DrSteve on June 18, 2011 at 7:04 AM

Congress controls the power of the purse. That is true with or without a WPA. If they want to defund the war that is always their prerogative.

MJBrutus on June 18, 2011 at 6:39 AM

This is true.

And it is also interesting to see Republicans and conservatives who have generally not been champions of the War Powers Act make an issue of this. I wonder if the time will come when a Republican president will end up in the same kind of face off with Congress. In reality, I don’t this is so much about Democrat vs Republican as it is about President vs Congress. And like you said, they can always cut off the money. They have done it before.

Terrye on June 18, 2011 at 7:07 AM

Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch…

Look, either the OLC’s decision is binding on the President, or it isn’t. You can’t have it both ways.

disa on June 18, 2011 at 7:13 AM

Defund. If there are no good guys to support, why are we involved?

disa on June 18, 2011 at 7:14 AM

Welcome to the right side of the issue. I hope you’ll stay with us in the future.
 
crr6 on June 18, 2011 at 2:38 AM

 
Weird. Anyway, yes or no:
 
Do you support Obama’s continued warmaking without congressional approval?

rogerb on June 18, 2011 at 7:15 AM

The administration followed an unusual process in developing its position.

Actually Obama followed his usual process. He lied. He lies about everything. It’s second nature to him.

Congress should seek a ruling on the constitutionality of the WPA and, while they are at it, the meaning of Natural Born Citizen. The man who accompanied his sharia-loving cousin Odinga while he campaigned in Kenya in 2006 has divided loyalties.

Basilsbest on June 18, 2011 at 7:21 AM

If Congress doesn’t defund this immediately, The United States might as well drop the facade of a legitimate Republic and admit that we are living in a plutocratic oligarchy…

equanimous on June 18, 2011 at 12:13 AM

Dude, that is about the biggest non sequitur I’ve ever seen.

Count to 10 on June 18, 2011 at 7:24 AM

Reid must be quoting that section of the Constitution which says you can sidestep constitutionality if something will be over before you know it. Bishop on June 17, 2011 at 10:38 PM

This is 1984. Temporary breaches of The Constitution don’t count and bombing Tripoli back to the stone age isn’t engaging in hostilities.

Basilsbest on June 18, 2011 at 7:30 AM

What’s to stop him from using “his” military inside the US… If it’s just “kinetic”?

Key West Reader on June 18, 2011 at 7:34 AM

MJBrutus on June 18, 2011 at 6:39 AM

Setting aside the constitutionality of the War Powers act (which is a very interesting question as to whether Congress can in fact give up its constitutional responsibility), why is a War Powers act even needed in this digital age? Its purpose was to give the President a grace period to act quickly and decisive during a sudden foreign policy crisis, correct? Yet the framers of our Constitution were still using stage coaches and quill pens. The War Powers act really does look like political cowardice on the part of the Congress during the Vietnam era.

Also, Obama already acknowledged what he is doing in Libya is a hostility since he notified Boehner of his actions in Libya within 48 hours of doing so which is in accordance with with the War Powers Act:

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

At approximately 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on March 19, 2011, at my direction, U.S. military forces commenced operations to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council and undertaken with the support of European allies and Arab partners, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya. As part of the multilateral response authorized under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, U.S. military forces, under the command of Commander, U.S. Africa Command, began a series of strikes against air defense systems and military airfields for the purposes of preparing a no-fly zone. These strikes will be limited in their nature, duration, and scope. Their purpose is to support an international coalition as it takes all necessary measures to enforce the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. These limited U.S. actions will set the stage for further action by other coalition partners.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 authorized Member States, under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya, including the establishment and enforcement of a “no-fly zone” in the airspace of Libya. United States military efforts are discrete and focused on employing unique U.S. military capabilities to set the conditions for our European allies and Arab partners to carry out the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council Resolution.

Muammar Qadhafi was provided a very clear message that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. The international community made clear that all attacks against civilians had to stop; Qadhafi had to stop his forces from advancing on Benghazi; pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; and establish water, electricity, and gas supplies to all areas. Finally, humanitarian assistance had to be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

Although Qadhafi’s Foreign Minister announced an immediate cease-fire, Qadhafi and his forces made no attempt to implement such a cease-fire, and instead continued attacks on Misrata and advanced on Benghazi. Qadhafi’s continued attacks and threats against civilians and civilian populated areas are of grave concern to neighboring Arab nations and, as expressly stated in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, constitute a threat to the region and to international peace and security. His illegitimate use of force not only is causing the deaths of substantial numbers of civilians among his own people, but also is forcing many others to flee to neighboring countries, thereby destabilizing the peace and security of the region. Left unaddressed, the growing instability in Libya could ignite wider instability in the Middle East, with dangerous consequences to the national security interests of the United States. Qadhafi’s defiance of the Arab League, as well as the broader international community moreover, represents a lawless challenge to the authority of the Security Council and its efforts to preserve stability in the region. Qadhafi has forfeited his responsibility to protect his own citizens and created a serious need for immediate humanitarian assistance and protection, with any delay only putting more civilians at risk.

The United States has not deployed ground forces into Libya. United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster. Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime’s air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi’s armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas. We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

For these purposes, I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.

BARACK OBAMA

I love how he emphasizes that ground forces are not being used, as if drones are not an act of hostility (let alone jets). I suppose when technology provides us with massive Mechs piloted robotically, that wouldn’t classify as an act of hostility either?

Daemonocracy on June 18, 2011 at 7:36 AM

So Obama notified Boehner within 48 hours in compliance with the War Powers Act, but now that his 60 days are up, the War Powers Act suddenly does not apply?

Daemonocracy on June 18, 2011 at 7:39 AM

Have you seen my email?…

Gohawgs on June 18, 2011 at 3:54 AM

No, e-mail? Did you use the address published at my flickr site?

carbon_footprint on June 18, 2011 at 7:41 AM

The War Powers act is just as likely to be struck down as unconstitutional if it makes it to the Supreme Court, seriously, if you want to change the c and c power amend the constitution.

rob verdi on June 18, 2011 at 7:41 AM

Gadafi has made Obama look foolish
swimcoachmike on June 17, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Obama has made the American elites of both parties look PC naive and foolish.

Basilsbest on June 18, 2011 at 7:51 AM

Would Bush have done the same thing, given the circumstances?

Del Dolemonte on June 18, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Absolutely. In fact, he would have went much further.

crr6 on June 18, 2011 at 2:38 AM

1. Would have went? Seriously, it’s called grammar.
2. How will you even attempt to prove the assertion that President Bush would have gone much further?

Your illogic confounds.

massrighty on June 18, 2011 at 7:53 AM

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