Being that Obama is a Constitutional lawyer, and has studied the law on the matter vigorously over the years, one would think that he, above many other people, would know what was legal and what was not when it comes to running the country. As he has most recently come out to say that we are waging war on terrorists over in the Middle East, scholars are jumping from their seat to exclaim that by bypassing Congress, Obama’s actions, yet again, are unconstitutional.
Perhaps screaming the loudest is Bruce Ackerman, a leading Constitutional scholar and also, NY Times contributor as he recently kicked off a piece writing:
President Obama’s declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris.
He eventually went on to say that Bush was able to get Congressional approval before invading both Afghanistan and Iraq, and as he points out, Obama has made it clear he has no intention to do just that. Furthermore, the Obama administration hasn’t even come forward with an opinion as to why they could wage a war against ISIS let alone a definitive justification. He simple stated that the reason for this, “is because no serious opinion can be written.”
This became clear when White House officials briefed reporters before Mr. Obama’s speech to the nation on Wednesday evening. They said a war against ISIS was justified by Congress’s authorization of force against Al Qaeda after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that no new approval was needed.
But the 2001 authorization for the use of military force does not apply here. That resolution — scaled back from what Mr. Bush initially wanted — extended only to nations and organizations that “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks.
Ackerman then proceeded to point out that Obama’s weak attempt to transfer a vote that was made by Congress an astounding 13 years ago to a terrorist organization that didn’t even exist back then is beyond, “preposterous.” He furthermore points out that the War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the president to seek congressional approval a maximum of 60 days after initiating hostile action in order to declare war.
If he can not secure approval, he would be forced to recall any and all forces that were sent to begin with. Given that he began bombings on August 8, that would mean Obama would need, in order to abide by the Constitution, to obtain enough votes by October 7 or else withdrawal.
Unfortunately, as Obama has paid no mind to the pesky nature of the Constitution in the past, Ackerman expresses his doubt that Obama will abide by these rules in this instance:
But for now the president seems grimly determined to practice what Mr. Bush’s lawyers only preached. He is acting on the proposition that the president, in his capacity as commander in chief, has unilateral authority to declare war.
In taking this step, Mr. Obama is not only betraying the electoral majorities who twice voted him into office on his promise to end Bush-era abuses of executive authority. He is also betraying the Constitution he swore to uphold.
So what do you think – will Obama follow the rules of our land or will he once again ignore them in the pursuit of personal agenda all the while be allowed to do so by those too scared to be called “racist” or “intolerant”?
(h/t: NY Times)