Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Decider Strikes Again and Again...

President Bush claimed in an interview with 60 Minutes that Congress could not stop him from carrying out his "new plan" in Iraq. He had two arguments. First, he made the political argument that if Congress tried to cut funding for the deployment he would spin it as "not supporting the troops." Second, when asked if he thought he had the authority as Commander in Chief to execute this plan despite Congressional opposition, he said, "Yeah, in this situation I do."

In other news, Vice President Dick Cheney is defending a Defense Department program to monitor the financial records of hundreds of American citizens without warrants. His defense (which I heard on the radio yesterday) was that this program was something that had been going on for "some time" and he implied that therefore we should not be worried.

So apparently the Bush administration's strategy for disrupting the Democratic agenda in Congress is to provoke a constitutional crisis or two. I sincerely hope the Democrats are ready to stand up for this fight. I can think of few more important things they could do than use the power of Congress to finally enforce some limits (any limits) on this out of control Bush administration!


Anonymous said...

Let's talk about the War Powers act. Can Congress revoke or otherwise restrict the President's power in this area? It seems reasonable that Congress should not be able to interfere with the President's powers as Commander-in-Chief, but it is the Congress that should be able to determine whether we are at war. The original war authorization no longer applies, so Congress should revisit the question and issue a new authorization with some restrictions... restrictions that will put an end to this fiasco and ultimately bring our troops home.

The original "resolution Congress issued on October 22, 2002, the "Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq," begins with a list of complaints against Saddam Hussein and then gives its explicit authorization as follows:

"The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to: (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq."

Since the Iraq discussed in the resolution no longer exists and since the U.N. Security Council resolutions are also now moot... one can argue that the purposes for which force was authorized have been met, and Congress now has the opportunity to reframe the continued use of our troops in that area of the world.

Let's challenge the notion that the President, and the President alone, can dictate foreign policy. And let's sort out the War Powers act once and for all. What do the experts on this blog think about this idea? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Anonymous said...

Dr. S. I would defer to LTG on these kinds of constitutional questions but in my opinion I don't think you are barking up the wrong tree.

If we accept that the President can unilaterally declare a state of war and that once he does that, Congress cannot check his authority either with their legislative capacity to limit his conduct of the war abroad (or at home!) or through their control of the budget.

I don't think the men who debated, wrote, debated again and then finally ratified the Constitution would have agreed to such a powerful executive.

LTG, does the constitutional law on this issue suggest what the prevailing interpretation is right now? 

// posted by RBR