Patterico's Pontifications

3/23/2011

Another Scholar Weighs in on the Legality of This War

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 8:50 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

I would like to call your attention to another scholar who has argued that the president cannot go to war without Congressional approval: Senator Joe Biden.  I am not joking and I am surprised when I say that myself.  Now, over at Eyeblast Tv, they have two clips of Biden saying this in 2007 when there was concern/hope that Bush would bomb Iran, threatening Bush with impeachment if he went forward without Congressional approval.  Let me show you one of the clips:

But one could assert that this was just partisan politics, an attempt by a man who aspired to be president to reign in a President hated by the left and make himself their “darling” in the process.  Only here’s the thing.  He said it in 1998, too, when Clinton was the president:

Today, Biden serves as vice president to a commander in chief who has just committed the U.S. military to an action in Libya that was authorized by the U.N. Security Council but was never even so much as debated in the U.S. Congress let alone put to a vote.

Nor has the president argued that the aim of the military action in Libya is to repel an imminent attack on the United States or rescue U.S. citizens.

“The rationale for vesting the power to launch war in Congress was simple,” Biden said in a Senate speech delivered on July 30, 1998. “The Framers’ views were dominated by their experience with the British King, who had unfettered power to start wars. Such powers the Framers were determined to deny the President.”

And Biden’s analysis is surprisingly scholarly, covering for instance the convention notes on the reason why the language was changed originally from stating that Congress had the sole power to “make” war to it being the power to “declare” war.

“The original draft of the Constitution would have given to Congress the power to ‘make war.’ At the Constitutional Convention, a motion was made to change this to ‘declare war.’ The reason for the change is instructive,” said Biden.

“At the Convention, James Madison and Elbridge Gerry argued for the amendment solely in order to permit the President the power ‘to repel sudden attacks,’” said Biden. “Just one delegate, Pierce Butler of South Carolina, suggested that the President should be given the power to initiate war.”

Citing Federalist No. 69, Biden noted that Alexander Hamilton, who among the Framers was perhaps the greatest champion of a strong executive, argued that the Constitution gave the president the authority to direct the military in action only after that action was authorized by Congress.

“Even Alexander Hamilton, a staunch advocate of Presidential power, emphasized that the President’s power as Commander in Chief would be ‘much inferior’ to the British King, amounting to ‘nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces,’ while that of the British King ‘extends to declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies–all which, by [the U.S.] Constitution, would appertain to the legislature,’” said Biden.

“Given this,” Biden concluded, “the only logical conclusion is that the framers intended to grant to Congress the power to initiate all hostilities, even limited wars.”

This is a sentence I didn’t expect to write in my lifetime.  Biden’s views are scholarly, considered, and in my opinion, exactly correct.  In the same speech he even rebuked the claim that U.N. could in essence declare war for America.

And on the other side, the only scholarly attempt to defend this aciton  comes from Jack Goldsmith, who writes:

Legal scholars disagree about the original meaning of the Constitution’s conferral on Congress of the power “to declare war.” Many contend it required Congress to formally approve all uses of U.S. military force abroad, save, as James Madison said at the Convention, in situations needed to “repel sudden attack.” Others maintain the “declare war” clause provides more leeway, allowing the president to use force abroad as long as the force does not rise to the level of “war,” whatever that means. Yet others argue that the framers meant simply to give Congress the authority to signal under international law a state of war; the real work in controlling presidential initiation of force, under this view, was Congress’ control over appropriations and the size of the standing army. There are many more theories about the original understanding. Even if we could definitively resolve this debate, which we can’t, it is unclear why original intent—which in practice rarely determines contemporary constitutional meaning—should control outcomes in the context of presidential war powers, a context that as much as any is marked by radically changed circumstances.

In short, “scholars disagree, so I guess we can’t figure it out, and really who cares what the Constitution says anyway?” Mind you, he says this in a piece subheadlined: “The president’s campaign against Libya is constitutional.”  But the article isn’t even really talking about the Constitution, just about how it can be disregarded–unless we are talking about the kind of Constitution that has magic ink whose words change over time on their own and without amendment.

Meanwhile today, the President is barely even pretending to adhere to the Constitutional limits or the limits of the War Powers Act.  Here’s the text of his letter to Congress justifying this action:

At approximately 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on March 19, 2011, at my direction, U.S. military forces commenced operations to assist an international effort authorized by the United Nations (U.N.) Security Council and undertaken with the support of European allies and Arab partners, to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe and address the threat posed to international peace and security by the crisis in Libya. As part of the multilateral response authorized under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, U.S. military forces, under the command of Commander, U.S. Africa Command, began a series of strikes against air defense systems and military airfields for the purposes of preparing a no-fly zone. These strikes will be limited in their nature, duration, and scope. Their purpose is to support an international coalition as it takes all necessary measures to enforce the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. These limited U.S. actions will set the stage for further action by other coalition partners.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 authorized Member States, under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, to take all necessary measures to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in Libya, including the establishment and enforcement of a “no-fly zone” in the airspace of Libya. United States military efforts are discrete and focused on employing unique U.S. military capabilities to set the conditions for our European allies and Arab partners to carry out the measures authorized by the U.N. Security Council Resolution.

Muammar Qadhafi was provided a very clear message that a cease-fire must be implemented immediately. The international community made clear that all attacks against civilians had to stop; Qadhafi had to stop his forces from advancing on Benghazi; pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata, and Zawiya; and establish water, electricity, and gas supplies to all areas. Finally, humanitarian assistance had to be allowed to reach the people of Libya.

Although Qadhafi’s Foreign Minister announced an immediate cease-fire, Qadhafi and his forces made no attempt to implement such a cease-fire, and instead continued attacks on Misrata and advanced on Benghazi. Qadhafi’s continued attacks and threats against civilians and civilian populated areas are of grave concern to neighboring Arab nations and, as expressly stated in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, constitute a threat to the region and to international peace and security. His illegitimate use of force not only is causing the deaths of substantial numbers of civilians among his own people, but also is forcing many others to flee to neighboring countries, thereby destabilizing the peace and security of the region. Left unaddressed, the growing instability in Libya could ignite wider instability in the Middle East, with dangerous consequences to the national security interests of the United States. Qadhafi’s defiance of the Arab League, as well as the broader international community moreover, represents a lawless challenge to the authority of the Security Council and its efforts to preserve stability in the region. Qadhafi has forfeited his responsibility to protect his own citizens and created a serious need for immediate humanitarian assistance and protection, with any delay only putting more civilians at risk.

The United States has not deployed ground forces into Libya. United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster. Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime’s air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi’s armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas. We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.

For these purposes, I have directed these actions, which are in the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.

I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution. I appreciate the support of the Congress in this action.

But it is not consistent with the War Powers Resolution (or Act).  Read it for yourself.  It says that the President can only use force pursuant to 1) a declaration of war or 2) statutory authorization, or 3) if our country, territories or armed forces are attacked.  And you will search that letter in vain for an allegation that any of those conditions were met.

It is time for Congress to put its foot down.  I am not calling for impeachment, like Joe Biden was in 2007 if Bush bombed Iran without Congressional authorization.  But Congress must make it clear to the President that 1) this action was unconstitutional and 2) if this happens again, he will be impeached.

And this is not about whether the war is justified, or a good idea.  I personally believe it is both.  But I am not a mercenary in my Constitutionalism.  I believe it should be followed even when it impedes my preferred policies.

Which is not to impugn the views of people who genuinely believe that this was Constitutional.  But I will ask you this.  If the President can launch us into war on his own without Congressional consent, what exact purpose is served by the Declaration of War Clause?

And it is exceedingly clear that in 2007-08 both the President and the Vice President believed that the oath of office, where they promised to defend the Constitution, would be violated by this action.  So you can chalk this up as example 3,232 of the lawlessness of this administration.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

63 Responses to “Another Scholar Weighs in on the Legality of This War”

  1. These people who were willing to be absolutist about impeaching Bush if he bombed Iran, and then flipped on presidential powers, are the most despicable bastards this nation has produced since the 1970s.

    Joe Biden and Barack Obama are merely the most senior examples. They must think Americans are incredibly stupid, and I think they are making a huge political mistake.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  2. Dustin

    Well, the is where the rubber meets the road. the tea party, for instance, claims it is devoted to the constitution. well, then its time for us to prove it.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  3. Leaving all constitutional questions aside, surely nobody can dispute that it is simply wrong for the President to have consulted the UN and the Arab League, but not the US Congress. Even if it were merely as a matter of courtesy, he owed it to Congress to consult them. It’s not as if he didn’t have time; he’s been faffing about for three weeks. To follow all that by this letter is like a slap in the face, and he should be censured just for that.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  4. Smacks head in frustration at the thought of brainless sheeple wanting slowjoe for prez.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  5. But Biden, opposed the Gulf War, which had both UN and Congressional approval, so he’s basically all wet, so did Kennedy, Harkin, et al. It doesn’t matter what they might have wanted, it’s whats actually in the document.

    narciso (a3a9aa)

  6. if the president wants to sprinkle a few bombs on North Africa I don’t think it rises to the level of a Constitutional question it’s more a question of lifestyle

    happyfeet (ab5779)

  7. The purpose is to destroy Gadaffi’s offensive capability, otherwise the no fly zone, is a joke, we know that from the Balkans, where we’ve been there for 16 years, and the Gulf, until 2003,

    narciso (a3a9aa)

  8. In the tradition of “Mr. Jaws” (God, I’m old!!!) . . .

    — Say, Joe; how do you justify this hypocritical flip-flop?

    “It’s easy ’cause every thing’s different now
    Every thing’s different now
    Seems long ago when our love was unknown
    But it’s just yesterday
    Every thing’s different now, every thing’s different now
    And when I look in the mirror and talk to myself
    I can’t pretend it’s the same”

    Icy Texan (a6f2b4)

  9. The real reason why the muslims are peaceful and not wanting to push their religion on us is because they are a minority.

    And we ironically are going to replace Gaddaffi with a bunch of islamonazi theocrats.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  10. Some certainly are Islamists, but many probably don’t really care about politics, but the corruption, oppression, et al, You know how crazy
    he is to us, imagine having to live in such a crazy
    world.

    narciso (a3a9aa)

  11. “Just one delegate, Pierce Butler of South Carolina, suggested that the President should be given the power to initiate war.”

    Looks like old Pierce got what he wanted.

    The Korean non-war, Vietnam, Bay of Pigs, Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, Libya, plus God knows how many others I can’t remember off the top of my head.

    About the only President we’ve had in recent memory who absolutely insisted on getting Congress’ approval before opening fire is George Bush II. Kind of ironic, all things considered.

    Dave Surls (70492e)

  12. if the president wants to sprinkle a few bombs on North Africa I don’t think it rises to the level of a Constitutional question it’s more a question of lifestyle

    taken literally facetiously or covered in peanut butter i agree with this statement three hundred and two percent

    deeplemeblues (a78b16)

  13. Joe Biden thinks Article I of the Constitution is about the Executive (see Biden-Palin debate). And this after voting on every sitting Supreme Court justice.

    As another famous lawyer used to say: “Mad Cow!”

    Kevin M (298030)

  14. Who else remembers when Joe Biden was the greatest VP pick ever, just the seasoned veteran to lend Obama his thirty years of experience or something when it came to foreign policy?

    This is a big fucking deal, people.

    deeplemeblues (a78b16)

  15. “About the only President we’ve had in recent memory who absolutely insisted on getting Congress’ approval before opening fire is George Bush II.”

    Dave Surls – I believe George H.W. Bush also obtained an AUMF from Congress for the Gulf War after first taking the position that he did not need it since the operation was sanctioned by the U.N. That position was not well received.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  16. Obama’s administration is a man-caused disaster.

    daleyrocks (9b57b3)

  17. “Dave Surls – I believe George H.W. Bush also obtained an AUMF from Congress for the Gulf War..”

    You are absolutely correct, but he did not do so when we invaded Panama.

    Dave Surls (70492e)

  18. Dave

    Correct me if I’m wrong but in the case of Panama the despote there I thought kidnapped the wife of an American Sargent and then made threats to the rest of the American Civilians there.

    And they just went after him not the military of the country

    Thts what I remember and I’m too lazy to google today its acting up in Qatar –

    EricPWJohnsonlsh (dda0dd)

  19. Aaron, the chances that Joe Biden himself was the author of any of the legal discussion that’s attributed to him is basically zero.

    A better clue to the depth of his personal legal acumen comes from his appalling performance in Senate Judiciary Committee hearings and his own law school record — he graduated 76th out of 85, and barely escaped expulsion for plagiarism.

    The safer course is always to assume that whenever Biden gets something right, it’s because he’s continuing to parrot the words of people smarter than him.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  20. Put another way: The dullest tool in the shed may occasionally still turn up a turnip, but it’s not the tool you want to reach for.

    Beldar (a197ec)

  21. You said, “One of the Clips.”
    I thought you said, “One of the dips.

    Paul Albers (23002d)

  22. We have a living constitution. Original intent means nothing. Today is all that matters, meaning that it now must be read to approve all Democratic initiatives and prohibit all Republican initiatives.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  23. Beldar

    I’m not sure I would be as harsh on his intelligence and scholarship as you are.

    But I am not sure you are wrong, either. :-)

    Aaron Worthing (b1db52)

  24. Come 2012 even the left will want his BC including chuckles the stalin wannabe.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  25. I don’t believe that this reading of the War Powers Act is correct. The provision that Mr. Worthing cites is Congress’s interpretation of the Constitution; it is not an operative part of the law.

    The cited provision (subsection (c)) reads: “The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to [a declaration of war, statutory authorization, or if our country, territories or armed forces are attacked].” As you may note, this is a discussion of the “constitutional powers of the President”. That’s fine, and Congress’s interpretation of the Constitution should be respected, but such interpretation is not the last word in Constitutional law – the other coequal branches will have their own interpretations of the Constitution which are likewise to be respected.

    If Congress wanted to write operational statutory law, it would not have had a discussion of the constituional powers of the President. Instead, Congress would have written something to the effect “The President may not introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities unless pursuant to a declaration of war, statutory authorization, or if our country, territories or armed forces are attacked.” This is how the remainder of the War Powers Act and other statutes are drafted.

    Properly interpreted, the section that Mr. Worthing cites is like a WHEREAS clause – a declaration of Congress, but not operative statutory law.

    I don’t support Obama, but Mr. Worthing’s interpretation of the War Powers Act is not correct.

    A.S. (23bc66)

  26. What a jerkoff.

    DohBiden (984d23)

  27. Biden’s interpretation, clashes with what he actually does, both before, during the Gulf War, when we had a larger coalition. Bosnia, did we have an authorization for use of force, then. Or Kosovo, the following year, not that I recall, so he’s all wet.

    narciso (a3a9aa)

  28. President and Vice-President – offices now occupied by two of the least thoughtful, least qualified people we could find. And in the case of the VP, probably the dumbest man ever to hold that office.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  29. If Robert ”KKK” Byrd were here what would he think?

    DohBiden (984d23)

  30. That’s our barf-bucket lunch-bucket Joe.

    Icy Texan (a6f2b4)

  31. SPQR

    Obama had to pick someone, to do two things

    1. Make him look good by comparison

    2. Light a fire under the Secret Service to make sure there would never he a succession question

    Who else in the Senate or the entire party for that matter could he pick?

    EricPWJohnson (dda0dd)

  32. Epwich, in his usual backhanded unintended manner, is right. Obama had to pick Biden, the anti-Cheney, to shore up his own lack of credentials and experience — “shore up” in the sense of ‘better leave it up to me or else Unky Joe gets the keys to the car’. IOW, he deliberately chose someone with years of experience but no wisdom.

    Icy Texan (a6f2b4)

  33. Show of hands: How many think JoeyB will resign in protest after being told to keep his “f***ing big deal” mouth shut?

    Of course he did say this in 07, so it’s a little late to take it back.

    PatAZ (43542d)

  34. Inwinder when the MFM will call them put on this.

    JD (fd2125)

  35. I wonder when the MFM will call them out on this.

    Effin’ spellcheck

    JD (fd2125)

  36. “Or Kosovo, the following year, not that I recall, so he’s all wet.”

    Yup, he didn’t exactly object when Slick Willy ordered the bombing of the FRY, without bothering to consult Congress, and he’s not doing so now.

    Like most Democrats, his principles are as flexible as an overcooked noodle.

    What he says means nada.

    Dave Surls (bbbd48)

  37. Lunch Lady Joe isn’t going to resign.

    Icy Texan (a6f2b4)

  38. Aaron, should Reagan have been impeached for invading Grenada without Congressional sanction?

    Should George H.W. Bush have been impeached for invading Panama without Congressional sanction?

    John Farrier (bf88b6)

  39. John, Panama declared war on the USA. Aaron agrees (I think) that in such a case the president can respond without going to Congress.

    Grenada’s a bit trickier, if you believe (as Aaron seems to) that any time you initiate combat with anybody, government or not, it’s a “war” and you can’t do it without Congress. In Grenada the legitimate Head of State invited us in, in fact begged us to come in. The people we fought and defeated were a criminal gang who had just ousted the previous (itself illegitimate) government and shot the (illegitimate) Prime Minister. (The same PM who, ironically, had accused the USA of planning to invade and oust him. But he didn’t live to see the irony.) So I’d say that while we were did go into “war” with these people, it wasn’t a real war, a war-war as Whoopi Goldberg might put it, and since we were confident of putting them down quickly it was of no more significance than MPs raiding a bar where a serviceman’s wallet had been stolen. Plus there were the American students who needed rescuing, so it was perhaps no more significant than any rescue mission, which surely doesn’t need congressional approval.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  40. Milhouse,

    Actually, the Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II, wasn’t consulted and was rather peeved at Reagan for invading one of her realms. At any rate, no foreign official can replace Congressional authority for wars.

    Does it matter if Noriega declared war on the US? Again, this did nothing to prevent Bush the Elder from going to Congress. Note that after Nazi Germany declared war against the US, the US responded in kind. The declaration of war by a foreign nation did not preclude the legal necessity of a Congressional declaration of war.

    I don’t think that your distinction between war and Whoopian war would really work, especially since the US suffered far more casualties during the invasion of Grenada than the attack on Libya.

    Were the American students actually in any danger? Specifically, who made threats against their safety? Did the rescue of said students require the conquest of the entire country, or was it just a pretext to push the Communists out? And if it was just a pretext and not the real reason, then wasn’t Reagan as guilty of unconstitutional warmaking as Obama?

    John Farrier (bf88b6)

  41. Should George H.W. Bush have been impeached for invading Panama without Congressional sanction?

    Comment by John Farrier

    Weren’t they holding Americans, John?

    Were the American students actually in any danger?

    Yes. Of course. Let’s not play games.

    It is OK to use legal pretexts, John. That makes a legal difference between Reagan and Obama, since one’s action was meant to protect danger to Americans, and the other obviously is not.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  42. Does it matter if Noriega declared war on the US? Again, this did nothing to prevent Bush the Elder from going to Congress.

    If a country has declared war on the USA, then obviously the War Powers legislation already gives the President the congressional authorization to protect America from that war.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  43. Actually, the Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II, wasn’t consulted, and was rather peeved at Reagan for invading one of her realms

    The Queen is not Head of State; the Governor General is. In her name, of course, but the office is filled by him, not by her. At least if the Grenadan constitution is anything like the Australian one.

    And if she had an opinion about it at all, it was not made public, so you have no way of knowing whether she was peeved. Thatcher was peeved, but it was none of her business, since Grenada is in no way subject to the UK. If she had wanted to do anything about the communists ruling Grenada she had several years in which to do so before the coup.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  44. Does it matter if Noriega declared war on the US? Again, this did nothing to prevent Bush the Elder from going to Congress. Note that after Nazi Germany declared war against the US, the US responded in kind. The declaration of war by a foreign nation did not preclude the legal necessity of a Congressional declaration of war.

    Who told you there was such a necessity? Just because they did it doesn’t mean they had to.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  45. “The Queen is not Head of State; the Governor General is.”

    The Queen is the Head of State. The Governor General is her representative…not, that it makes a whole lot of difference.

    Dave Surls (bbbd48)

  46. The U.K. thought that Grenada was in their sphere of influence and they were right.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  47. I am still astonished that the walking hairplug planter box is still VP…

    SPQR (26be8b)

  48. The Queen is the Head of State. The Governor General is her representative…not, that it makes a whole lot of difference.

    It actually does make a whole lot of difference. The constitution specifies that “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the executive authority of Grenada may be exercised on behalf of Her Majesty by the Governor-General either directly or through officers subordinate to him”. That means she may not exercise it on her own behalf. At least that’s what it means in Australia, whose constitution is similar enough for useful comparison.

    As for the UK, “sphere of influence” is a meaningless term. The UK has no constitutional role in Grenada, and no more right to a say in what goes on there than the USA does. When the Queen acts in her capacity as Queen of Grenada (e.g. in appointing a Governor General) she may not take advice from her government of the UK. She must act on the advice of her government of Grenada, and if there is none then she must act on her own judgment.

    Milhouse (4ab35c)

  49. No, Milhouse, sphere of influence has a lot of meaning. And it has nothing to do with constitutions, either.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  50. Milhouse wrote:

    Weren’t they holding Americans, John?

    Were they? The sources that I’ve glanced through indicate that the students were on the island, at the school, but not captive. Do you have sources that indicate differently>

    Dustin wrote:

    If a country has declared war on the USA, then obviously the War Powers legislation already gives the President the congressional authorization to protect America from that war.

    How do you arrive at that conclusion from the text of the War Powers Resolution?

    Milhouse wrote:

    Who told you there was such a necessity? Just because they did it doesn’t mean they had to.

    Congress — the body authorized by the Constitution to declare war — clearly felt differently. The text of declaration authorizes the President to act. I think that it’s fair to say that the President did not have the authority to act otherwise, as Congress had not yet instructed him to do so. Note that the declaration says that a state of war already exists, but only then authorizes the President to act. That Germany has declared is, according to the text, not enough. It is for Congress to decide the matter.

    John Farrier (2d5651)

  51. After the fact, Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill and other leaders approved Reagan’s actions but a few Democrats disagreed:

    A congressional study group concluded, after a three-day trip to Grenada, that Reagan’s move had been justified. The 14 members of Congress, headed by Democrat Thomas Foley of Washington State, reported to House Speaker Tip O’Neill that most of them felt that the students had been possible targets for a Tehran-type taking of hostages. This caused O’Neill, who had denounced Reagan’s decision, to reverse himself. Noting that “a potentially life-threatening situation existed on the island,” the Speaker said that the invasion “was justified under these particular circumstances.”

    There were a few dissenters among the congressional fact finders. “Not a single American child nor single American national was in any way placed in danger or placed in a hostage situation prior to the invasion,” insisted Ohio Democrat Louis Stokes. The Congressional Black Caucus denounced the intervention. Seven other Democratic Congressmen, led by Ted Weiss of New York, introduced a quixotic resolution to impeach Reagan for sending in the troops, which would, of course, go exactly nowhere. Just outside the White House on Saturday, a youngish crowd of at least 20,000 gathered to demonstrate their displeasure with the Grenada adventure and with U.S. military involvement in Central America.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  52. “It actually does make a whole lot of difference.”

    I meant that it didn’t make a whole lot of difference that you incorrectly stated that the Queen isn’t the Head of State.

    Minor mistake. No big whup.

    Dave Surls (bbbd48)

  53. How do you arrive at that conclusion from the text of the War Powers Resolution?

    John, are you serious?

    situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances

    If someone has declared war against the USA, then there is imminent hostilities. That was the entire point of the war powers legislation, and thus, if someone declares war on the USA, this legislation authorizes the President to defend us from those imminent hostilities.

    That’s why your comparison is falling short, legally.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  54. I meant that it didn’t make a whole lot of difference that you incorrectly stated that the Queen isn’t the Head of State.

    That was no mistake. For all practical purposes, she isn’t. The GG is. He acts in her name; she cannot act in her own name. And he begged the USA to come rescue his nation.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  55. Who told you there was such a necessity? Just because they did it doesn’t mean they had to.

    Congress — the body authorized by the Constitution to declare war — clearly felt differently. The text of declaration authorizes the President to act. I think that it’s fair to say that the President did not have the authority to act otherwise, as Congress had not yet instructed him to do so.

    You seem to be operating under the extremely strange delusion that Congress a) never does anything that is unnecessary, and b) never pretends to power that does not belong to it. Just because Congress deigned to “authorise” FDR to respond to the Japanese and German declarations of war does not mean he needed their authorisation. Had they refused he would have been perfectly entitled to tell them to kiss his behind and respond anyway.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  56. “That was no mistake.”

    Yes, it was a mistake.

    “Grenada gained independence from Britain in 1974 and is an independent nation within the British Commonwealth. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State and is represented locally by the Governor General…”

    http://www.gov.gd/about_grenada.html

    That’s right off the government of Grenada’s website.

    This isn’t a matter of opinion. It’s simply a fact that the Queen of England is the Head of State of Grenada.

    Dave Surls (509777)

  57. Dustin wrote:

    If someone has declared war against the USA, then there is imminent hostilities. That was the entire point of the war powers legislation, and thus, if someone declares war on the USA, this legislation authorizes the President to defend us from those imminent hostilities.

    That’s why your comparison is falling short, legally.

    Okay, I can go with that. On the basis that you present, the invasion of Panama was legally plausible. Not very strong, but plausible.

    John Farier (bf88b6)

  58. Milhouse wrote:

    You seem to be operating under the extremely strange delusion that Congress a) never does anything that is unnecessary, and b) never pretends to power that does not belong to it. Just because Congress deigned to “authorise” FDR to respond to the Japanese and German declarations of war does not mean he needed their authorisation. Had they refused he would have been perfectly entitled to tell them to kiss his behind and respond anyway.

    I am definitely not with you on the last sentence. Well, not the previous ones, either. Congress does not pretend to have the power to declare war; the Constitution delegates that power to it.

    Unless you’d like to argue that Congress and the President concurrently hold the power to declare war, Congress by written provision and the President because it’s not explicitly denied to him. But such an argument would hardly be in keeping with the default “no!” established by the Tenth Amendment.

    Anyway, I would regard Presidential warmaking not in the face of silence by Congress, but the direct refusal of Congress, as an absolutely impeachable offense.

    John Farrier (bf88b6)

  59. This isn’t a matter of opinion. It’s simply a fact that the Queen of England is the Head of State of Grenada.

    No, it is not a fact. The Queen of Grenada (not the Queen of England, though she happens to be queen of the UK as well) is Head of State in name only. The actual HoS is the Governor General, representing the Queen. All of the powers the constitution gives the Queen may only be exercised by the GG, not by the Queen herself. I know it’s confusing to you Yanks, but this is the way it works.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  60. Congress does not pretend to have the power to declare war; the Constitution delegates that power to it.

    I didn’t say Congress pretends to have the power to declare war. I said Congress may pretend that the president needs a declaration of war in order to make war, but that isn’t so.

    Unless you’d like to argue that Congress and the President concurrently hold the power to declare war,

    No. What you are almost deliberately missing is the firmly established fact that no declaration is needed for the USA to be at war. The president has an independent power to wage war, whether congress has declared it or not. FDR had no legal need of a declaration of war from Congress; the need was merely political. Nowhere in the constitution will you find it written that a declaration of war is necessary, and the courts have consistently said it isn’t.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  61. “No, it is not a fact.”

    Oh, of course not.

    The official website of the Government of Grenada says she’s the Head of State, but they don’t know what they’re talking about, and you do.

    What an ass.

    Dave Surls (509777)

  62. I probably do know more than whoever wrote that web site, but that’s not the issue; the issue is that you just have no idea how the Westminster system of government works. The GG is the Queen’s representative; therefore for all purposes he is HoS, not her. He acts in her name, but it is he who acts, not her. She cannot act in her own name even if she wants to. She just gets her picture on the money and stamps.

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

  63. It’s much easier to undertnsad when you put it that way!

    Yamary (3c5615)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 1.0420 secs.