News Release

Libya War Illegal?


CNN reports: “A bipartisan group of House members [lead by Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Walter Jones (R-NC)] will file a lawsuit Wednesday challenging U.S. participation in the Libya military mission. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is set to defend U.S. military involvement in Libya to Congress, according to the White House. … House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a letter to Obama on Tuesday that the administration could be in violation of the War Powers Resolution if it fails to get congressional authorization by Sunday, which he notes will be the 90th day since the mission began.”

BRUCE FEIN, bruce at
Fein was deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan and is author of “Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy” and “American Empire: Before the Fall.” He said today: “The statements of President Obama, Secretary of Defense designate Leon Panetta, and Sen. John McCain that the President is constitutionally crowned with authority unilaterally to initiate war in the national interests is a page out of George Orwell’s ‘1984.’ Every word uttered at the constitutional convention and ratification debates and the Constitution’s text confirm that only Congress can authorize war. The rule of law ends when, without a constitutional amendment, the Constitution today is treated as a homonym of the Constitution when it was drafted and ratified: sounds the same but means something different.

“The Constitution requires an affirmative vote from Congress before the United States commences war, which did not happen as regards Libya. Presidential consultation or a congressional vote after the fact does not cure the constitutional violation.”

FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at
Professor of international law at the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign and author of “Tackling America’s Toughest Questions,” said today: “After 60 days Congress must expressly authorize ongoing military operations, unless Obama asks for another 30 days, which he has not done. And Obama’s Libya War was unconstitutional to begin with.

Referring to the court case brought by members of Congress today, Boyle added: “This lawsuit is a cop-out of their Constitutional responsibilities on the part of Congress. These issues have already been argued and lost before in Campbell v. Clinton, 203 F.3d 19 (D.C.Cir. 2000), where the court ruled that members of Congress did not have standing to sue. The real remedy here is a bill of impeachment against President Obama. The courts are not going to pull Congress’s chestnuts out of this Constitutional fire for them.”

Background: Boehner’s letter

Kucinich’s news release

From FAIR: “Libya and the Law: Media Show Slight Interest in War Powers, Geneva”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167