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May 22, 2011

Obama: I Do Not Concern Myself With Trifles Like The Law

Beldar on Obama's "pathetic" "dog ate my homework" non-justifications for flouting the War Powers Act.

Via Instapundit.

I don't think Beldar is right about the WPA being unconstitutional. I think what he means is that the President has an inherent power, as C-i-C, to order the troops to war in some circumstances, and the WPA, claiming as it does to govern all circumstances, is overbroad.

I don't think I buy that though. We know the Constitution plainly, plainly requires Congressional authorization for war. Beldar's position, in strong form, would render that dead-letter.

So what do we know? We know the Constitution requires and foresees a president seeking authorization for war in some circumstances (most likely most, or close to all); we know, or think we know, the President has some inherent -- unstated, but logically necessary -- power to order troops to action in some limited circumstances. We can guess those would be "a direct attack on the territory of the U.S.," but as the Constitution does not say exactly, this is all gloss and interpretation.

Given a cloudy constitutional scheme, but given that the Constitution, to the extent it makes a clear declaration, declares unambiguously that the President shall seek a resolution from Congress in case of war, I don't believe it's unconstitutional for Congress to clarify, through legislation, their understanding of the scheme.

Further, it has to be noted that the WPA actually affords the President a fair amount of latitude for unauthorized, personally-selected wars. 60 days of our troops in harm's way is not really a terrible stricture on the president's power.

(Plus, 30 more days to wind it down, after that.)

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posted by Ace at 02:59 PM

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