Seedless Wry - constitution Obamacare

Impeach Barack Obama, Article I: Libya

...Continuing the Tenth Amendment Network series on the case to impeach President Barack Obama...

Article I: Violation of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 with regards to President Obama's troop deployment to Libya

On March 19, 2011, President Obama delivered remarks from Brazil in which he "authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians." This was news -- not only to the American public but also to the U.S. Congress, which had never taken up the matter, never advised on it to the President, and never voted to authorize the military action Mr. Obama had just initiated.

We see two approaches to this discussion -- the purist and the practical -- and we will take the latter mostly for our purposes here. For the purists, to understand the original intent of the founders with regard to war power separation, you can read the Tenth Amendment Networks' article on Declaring War.

As a practical matter, however, the President placed himself on the clock with this announcement. The War Powers Resolution of 1973 reaffirms Congress's power to authorize military action -- a role defined for Congress in the Constitution -- by raising strict limits on the President's authority to deploy troops without Congressional approval. Those limits are straightforward: the President must notify Congress of a mission within 48 hours of its commencement, and the mission may last no longer than 60 days (an additional 30 days for safe withdrawal is permitted).

Historically presidents have sought the support of Congress prior to military engagement. Mr. Obama, however, did not, as he never asked for or received a vote from Congress to authorize the mission in Libya.

The invasion only expanded over the next several weeks into a full-fledged air war, and the 60-day grace period outlined in the War Powers Resolution of 1973 lapsed without a Congressional vote -- creating a constitutional crisis between the executive and legislative branches of government. From roughly May 20, 2011 forward, Mr. Obama was in violation of federal law - an impeachable offense for any Congress willing to take up impeachment.

Reaction from Congress to the Obama administration's actions in Libya, however, was tepid. House Speaker John Boehner offered a measure barring Mr. Obama from using ground troops in Libya, a very limited response falling fall short of what he could have brought: a direct order to Mr. Obama to stop the mission and withdraw all troops immediately. The only consolation Mr. Boehner did include was a simple notation that the President failed to get Congressional authorization, a meaningless footnote that Mr. Boehner did not back up through hearings, investigations, or threats of impeachment. In essence, Mr. Boehner wanted a record of the President's violation of federal law -- but he felt no responsibility to do anything about it.

Congress's unwillingness to act aside, what Mr. Obama did -- sending troops to Libya without Congressional approval, escalating the mission in Libya, and lengthening it beyond the 60 day grace period allowed -- constitutes a clear violation of the War Powers Resolution of 1973 meant to reaffirm the separation of powers in the Constitution. He spent dollars on this mission never allocated by Congress. He used this mission to escalate conflict unilaterally with a foreign government -- and to put the lives of American soldiers at risk -- without the consent of Congress. And so because the President is not a king -- not a dictator -- and because we hold the President to the rule of law -- and because his actions have consequences, this is the Tenth Amendment Network's first article of impeachment against President Barack Obama.

Coming up in the next few days, we'll present our second "Article of Impeachment" : backdoor amnesty.

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