News Release

Rule of Law and the Bombing of Iraq


In a little-noticed speech on the House floor last Thursday, Rep. David Skaggs (D-Colo.) said: “President Clinton acted in violation of the Constitution in ordering these attacks without authority of Congress.” Among the legal scholars available for comment are:

Attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City

Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois College of Law at Champaign

Professor of International Law at Princeton University

Professor of Constitutional and International Law at the University of Pittsburgh

Relevant legal citations:

U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8: “The Congress shall have power to…declare war…”

The War Powers Resolution, 50 U.S.C.A. Sections 1541-1548. Section 2(c): “The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.”

U.N. Charter, Chapter I, Article 2: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

U.N. Charter, Chapter VII, Article 51: “Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security. Measures taken by Members in the exercise of this right of self-defense shall be immediately reported to the Security Council and shall not in any way affect the authority and responsibility of the Security Council under the present Charter to take at any time such action as it deems necessary in order to maintain or restore international peace and security.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020