Saturday, June 18

Obama: "War Powers Act doesn't apply b/c no hostilities in Libya"

Obama is starting to slide into "royal" territory--in which things mean exactly what he deems them to mean, without regard to their historically-used meanings. (Caution: Following story is from a source known to have strong political biases.)
President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations.

[T]he Pentagon general counsel, and...the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed [U.S.] military activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution [i.e. the law of the land, duly passed by a Democrat controlled congress], that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of “hostilities.” Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.

[Apparently we're bombing Qaddafi's troops with candy or something similar.]

Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch.

[Clearly we aren't operating under normal circumstances, since we have a presnit who feels free to violate both the Constitution and duly-passed laws of the nation.]

A White House spokesman... said there had been “a full airing of views within the administration...” that led Mr. Obama to his view that the Libya campaign was not covered by a provision of the War Powers Resolution that requires presidents to halt unauthorized hostilities after 60 days.

Summary: This is extremely clear proof that Obama is determined to avoid submitting the Libya question to congress--a clear violation of the Constitution. It would appear that he's willing to redefine "hostilities" to some bizarre new meaning to avoid submitting to the Constitution's unambiguous delegation to congress of the power to declare war.

Reminds me of Slick trying to avoid impeachment by saying "it depends on what the meaning of "is" is."

Except Slick Willy wasn't violating the Constitution at the time.

When you expend live ordnance on humans, it sure as hell sounds like "hostilities" to me. I'd like one of my Democrat relatives or friends to show all the rest of us stupid Americans why our combat actions in Libya "fall short of hostilities."

Oh, the source of the article? That ultra-conservative paper, the "NY Times."

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