The War Powers Act and President Obama’s Usurpation of Congressional Authority
I applaud the bipartisan group of lawmakers who filed suit against the Obama Administration’s unauthorized military actions in Libya. President Obama’s unilateral actions threaten the Rule of Law. Under Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war. Therefore, the President cannot unilaterally declare war against sovereign nations through alliances with international bodies such as the North American Treaty Organization (NATO) or the United Nations (UN). Nor can the President continue an undeclared war beyond the period stipulated under the War Powers Act. Under the War Powers resolution, a President has 60 days to justify his actions to Congress. President Obama has been out of compliance for almost a month. His 60 days ended on May 18. Although it is not uncommon for Presidents to declare war without congressional approval, it is rare for a President to wait this long before bringing such a weighty matter before Congress.