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ACLU Asks Congress to Vote on President's Use of Force in Libya

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TEHRAN, March 27 (ICANA) – In a letter sent to both chambers of the U.S. Congress, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asked the Senate and House leaders to schedule floor debates and votes to question whether President Barack Obama may continue to use military force in Libya.
Sunday, March 27, 2011 10:48:01 AM
ACLU Asks Congress to Vote on President's Use of Force in Libya

Obama ordered a military operation in Libya on March 19 without congressional approval, a violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

While the ACLU does not take a position on whether military force should be used, the organization has consistently insisted, from the war in Vietnam through both wars in Iraq, that Congress give advance authorization for the use of such force. ACLU

"The Executive Branch's assertions of unilateral authority to enter the armed conflict in Libya cannot and should not go unchallenged by the Congress. The decision whether to go to war does not lie with the President, but with Congress. Congress's power over decisions involving the use of military force derives from the Constitution," says the letter, signed by ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, Washington Legislative Office Director Laura W. Murphy and Senior Legislative Counsel Christopher E. Anders. ACLU

The group also cited several historical Supreme Court cases reaffirming the role of Congress in the use of military force and quoted a letter from Thomas Jefferson in which he wrote that allowing the declaration of war to be a congressional decision would be an 'effectual check to the Dog of war' by 'transferring the power of letting him loose from the Executive to the Legislative body.' ACLU

According to the ACLU's letter, "President Obama has already unleashed Jefferson's 'Dog of war' in Libya, without congressional authorization. That constitutional wrong has already happened. It is now up to the Congress, as representatives of the American citizenry, to exercise its exclusive authority under the Constitution to decide whether the President may continue to use military force there." ACLU

As a candidate in 2007, then-Sen. Obama said a president could not unilaterally authorize military action without Congress' consent. That's just what he's now doing in Libya. slate.com

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday sharpened his criticism of President Barack Obama's handling of military operations in Libya, pressing Obama over the mission's cost, leadership and exit strategy. Reuters

In a letter to the Democratic president, Boehner asked Obama how he would measure success in Libya.

Newt Gingrich, former U.S. House speaker and potential presidential candidate accused Obama of going to war without having a real consultation with Congress. Mcclatchydc.com

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