News Release

War Powers: The Hijacking of the Constitution?


Author of the just-released book War Powers: How the Imperial Presidency Hijacked the Constitution, Irons said today: “There’s no question that John Roberts is an advocate of virtually unlimited executive power. He has already voted on the circuit court to allow the president to hold alleged enemy combatants indefinitely, for example in Guantanamo. It’s ironic that the supposed advocates of ‘original intent’ don’t apply that doctrine when it comes to war powers — the framers made it clear that the Congress and not the president should make decisions about going to war.” Irons has written several books about the Supreme Court including A People’s History of the Supreme Court.
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While a senator from Alaska, Gravel was a noted critic of the Vietnam War. Gravel was quoted on an Institute for Public Accuracy news release on Aug. 2, 2002: “This is a déjà vu of Tonkin and the evidence seems to be as flimsy. [Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman J. William] Fulbright’s biggest regret, he would later say, was signing off on the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964. The incident was a lie about a supposed attack on U.S. vessels in the Gulf of Tonkin, fabricated by the Johnson government to give legitimacy to the expansion of the Vietnam War. There seems to be a similar rush to a ‘Tonkin judgment’ in the Senate to give the Bush administration legitimacy for an attack on Iraq.”

Gravel said today: “Many are now lobbying and protesting against the Iraq war, which is fine; but lobbying and protesting put the people in the position of begging. The solutions lie with the people; not with the political leadership, which has the power of lawmaking. For the last several years, I have been working on a proposal called the National Initiative on Democracy. This would give lawmaking powers to the people, so we can truly have government by the people.” Gravel is chairman of the Democracy Foundation.
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Bonifaz is a constitutional attorney and the author of the book Warrior-King: The Case for Impeaching George W. Bush. He is part of a lobbying effort by over 700 people on the Iraq war since the major protests this weekend. He said today: “A big lie being told about this war is that Congress voted for this war. Congress never voted for this war. Congress gave an unlawful blank check [on Oct. 10, 2002] to the president to decide whether or not to wage war against Iraq. The war powers clause of the Constitution makes clear that Congress, and only Congress, has the power to wage a war against another nation. This is not a power that can be transferred to the president. The dangers inherent in allowing one individual to make this decision for the nation are evident for all to see in connection with this war. This war was illegal from the start. Congress should exercise its constitutional responsibilities and end this war now.” Bonifaz is co-founder of the coalition.
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On an ABC Nightline “Townhall Meeting” about the then-impending attack on Iraq on March 4, 2003, Carr asked Sen. John McCain and Sen. Carl Levin: “What do you plan to do to make sure that the voices of the American people are heard and represented?” [See Sen. McCain’s website. Carr is “Female Four,” halfway through the transcript, and is followed by Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. asking a followup.] She said today: “We’re in a situation where it’s apparent that the citizens’ voices need to be listened to.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167