Golfing While the Constitution Burns

Golfing While the Constitution Burns

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch

 

When Barack Obama and John Boehner played golf this weekend, they played
on the same team
. How appropriate.

Barack Obama has violated the Constitution’s war-making power – reserved by
Article I, Section 8,
to Congress – from the moment he sent American troops into harm’s way without
Congressional approval. He has been violating the War Powers Resolution since at
least the 60th day of that campaign. And he has violated the most
liberal reading of that act – the one Boehner has adopted as his own – since
this weekend. Yet despite the letter
Boehner authored last week, which the media presented as an “ultimatum,”
Obama has neither obtained Congressional authorization nor removed our troops.
Boehner’s
letter weakly supplicated
“I sincerely hope the Administration will
faithfully comply with the War Powers Resolution,” but at least it seemed to set
this weekend as a definitive cut-off point.

The “deadline” has come and gone, and Obama has not answered the most burning
questions of the mission’s legality to anyone’s satisfaction. Instead, the
president has thumbed his nose at Congress in general, Boehner in particular,
and the American people at large, and the Speaker-cum-caddy has made no
meaningful response whatsoever.

Obama insists the American role in Libya is too diminutive to constitute
“hostilities,” so his action is perfectly legal. White House spokesman Jay
Carney repeated
his boss’s party line at Monday’s press conference, stating, “the War Powers
Resolution does not need to be involved because the ‘hostilities’ clause of that
resolution is not met.” However, soldiers in Libya are receiving an additional
$25
a month in “imminent danger pay.”
American drones still rain missiles down
upon military targets. NATO is alternately
bombing
Muammar Qaddafi’s home
and killing the innocent Libyan civilians they are
purportedly protecting. (We had to kill the civilians in order to save them?)
NATO admitted (at
least
) one of its bombs went off target on Sunday, killing
nine civilians in Tripoli
, while allied bombs allegedly killed
15 civilians in Sorman on Monday
.

Not to worry, though; Defense Secretary Robert Gates said over the weekend,
in a confidence-builder worthy of Churchill, “I think this is
going to end OK.”
Gates, who once
opposed
the Libyan adventure, has pulled
a 180
on the matter.

Even Obama’s short-term fellow Illinois Senator, Dick Durbin, agrees
Libya more than rises to the level of hostilities.

So, too, we have learned, do the best legal minds of Obama’s administration
(not a coveted nor much-contested title, I assure you). In overruling
his own lawyers, Obama rejected the
considered conclusions
of Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon’s general counsel,
and Caroline Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal
Counsel (OLC). The New York Times reported
it is “extraordinarily rare” for any president to overrule the OLC. “Under
normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding
on the executive branch.”

But then, nothing in the Obama administration transpires under “normal
circumstances.”

Two former OLC lawyers outlined precisely how unusual the dismissal was….

Read
more
.

Obama, the New Caesar

Obama, the New Caesar

June 17th, 2011

Jeffrey T. Kuhner, The Washington Times

President Obama has crossed the Rubicon. He now believes – and acts – as if
he is above the law; the Constitution no longer applies to him. This is the real
meaning behind the U.S. military intervention in Libya
. Mr. Obama is
abrogating the linchpin of our democracy: the rule of law.

He
is violating the War Powers Act
. Passed in 1973, the law clearly stipulates
that the commander in chief can only deploy U.S. forces for 60 to 90 days
without congressional approval. He must then receive authorization from
Congress. If he does not, he
is usurping legislative authority
and expanding
the prerogatives of the executive branch
– concentrating power in his
hands
, especially the
most important act of all: war
. In short, by flagrantly
transgressing the War Powers Act
, Mr. Obama
has sparked a constitutional crisis
.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio
Republican, is demanding that the Obama administration explain why it has passed
the deadline
without seeking or getting congressional approval for the
Libyan campaign. The White House’s response: Get lost. The administration sent a
report to lawmakers defending the NATO-led Libyan war. For Mr. Obama, the War
Powers Act does not apply because U.S. forces apparently are not engaged in
“sustained hostilities” with troops loyal to strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
Moreover, U.S. air and missile strikes are only being conducted in a
“supporting” role. Hence, there is no need to have congressional buy-in.

This is postmodern humanitarian interventionism. According to the liberal
apparatchiks in the White House, Mr. Obama can bypass Congress simply by
redefining “hostilities.” War is no longer war. It is whatever Mr. Obama says it
is – or isn’t. George Orwell warned that the perversion of language is the first
step on the dark road to authoritarianism.

Mr.
Obama’s policy contravenes our national interest, is inept, immoral and
illegal
. This is why members of Congress are in open revolt. A bipartisan
group of lawmakers led by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, and Rep.
Walter B. Jones, North Carolina Republican, have filed a lawsuit demanding that
the courts force Mr. Obama to end the intervention in Libya. They are right. It
is time Congress reined in an out-of-control administration. There is a growing
alliance between conservative constitutionalists and anti-war liberals…

In addition, the hypocrisy of the liberal establishment is stunning. For
years, progressives, such as Mr. Obama, railed against President George W. Bush.
He was denounced as a “fascist” dictator and compared to Adolf Hitler for his
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Bush lied, people died,” went the slogan. Yet,
regardless of whether one supported those campaigns or not, Mr. Bush received
congressional authorization…

Read
more
.