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March 22nd, 2011
Did Obama Finally Cross the Line?

WASHINGTON — President Obama is facing criticism that crosses the political divide for not seeking Congressional authorization before ordering the American military to join in attacks of Libyan air defenses and government forces.

Critics say President Obama needed Congressional consent to attack Libya.

Some Democratic lawmakers — including Representatives Jerrold Nadler of New York, Barbara Lee of California and Michael E. Capuano of Massachusetts — complained in a House Democratic Caucus conference call as the bombing began that Mr. Obama had exceeded his constitutional authority by authorizing the attack without Congressional permission.

On Monday, Mr. Obama sent Congress a two-page letter saying that as commander in chief, he had constitutional authority to authorize the strikes, which were undertaken with French, British and other allies. He wrote that the strikes would be limited in scope and duration, and that preventing a humanitarian disaster in Libya was in the best interest of American foreign policy and national security goals.

The White House also noted that Mr. Obama had met with Congressional leaders to consult about the Libya situation on Friday. On March 1, the Senate unanimously approved a resolution calling for the United Nations Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The Security Council approved such a measure Thursday night.

Critics say the merits of the operation and its legality under international law are matters separate from the domestic legal question of who — the president or Congress — has the authority to decide whether the United States will take part in combat.

“When there is no imminent threat to our country, he cannot launch strikes without authorization from the American people, through our elected representatives in Congress,” wrote Representative Justin Amash, a freshman Republican of Michigan, on his Facebook page. “No United Nations resolution or Congressional act permits the president to circumvent the Constitution.”

Still, as a presidential candidate who promoted his background as an instructor of constitutional law, Mr. Obama appeared to adopt a more limited view of executive power when he answered a question about whether a president could order the bombing of Iranian nuclear sites without a use-of-force authorization from Congress.

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation,” Mr. Obama told The Boston Globe in December 2007.

The administration’s legal team appears to be distinguishing between a full war and a more limited military operation, on the theory that the Libyan intervention falls short of what would prompt any Congressional authority to control decisions about whether to initiate hostilities.Asked about Mr. Obama’s 2007 statement, Tom Donilon, Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, said Monday that the administration “welcomes the support of Congress in whatever form that they want to express that support.” But, Mr. Donilon added, Mr. Obama could authorize the operation on his own.

“This is a limited — in terms of scope, duration and task — operation, which does fall in the president’s authorities,” he said.

In the Globe survey, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., then a senator, argued that a president would have “no authority” under the Constitution to bomb Iranian nuclear sites without Congressional authorization because even limited strikes can unintentionally prompt all-out war.

“It needs to be pointed out that what he is doing is outside the Constitution,” Mr. Kucinich said. “If he is relying on precedent, then he ought to say so. But he’s got to square that with his own understanding of the Constitution prior to becoming president.”


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Comments:


rawcatslyentist - 2011-03-22
Illegal war in Libya? Whoopdedoo! What about the one he got caught funding on our Mexican border? Seems to me arming Narco Terrorists would be an act of agression against Mexico and The Ustados Unidos! Time to arrest the Kenyan at the airport!
by Dave



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