Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Suing the president?

This is a generally fair news story about Democratic attempts to compel the President to accept their view of his responsibilities in Iraq. Let me emphasize that federal courts are unlikely to intervene unless and until Congress has exhausted all political means of resolving its dispute with the President. In this case, it likely means that Congress would have to cut off funding, and take the political heat that came with that measure.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Yes, drunk on power! Go Nancy!

This is ridiculous. The Democrats are so...whiny. They just can't accept the war in Iraq and move on, so they have to grasp at loose ends to try to prove the president wrong. In my mind, they only make themselves look even more foolish with this.

If they really wanted to get under Bush's skin (as well as Republicans in general), then what they would do is forget all this foolishness about suing and whining about the war, and focus their efforts instead on getting a Democratic, anti-war, president elected in '08.

Congress has no constitutional authority over the armed forces. All they are allowed to do is declare war and fund the war. Setting a pullout deadline is not a power of the Legislative Branch.

I disagree with the characterization of Dems as "whiny." Whiny would be claiming there is a war on Christmas, or calling people who disagree with you "terrorists." What the Dems are is "opposed to the war" and "looking for ways to stop it."

Aw, go find an Arab to surrender to and quit bothering us.

The article left out Republican efforts to use the courts to stop Clinton's actions in Yugoslavia. The leading case, I think, is Campbell v. Clinton, concerning the War Powers Act, and many of the luminaries of the Republican House leadership signed on - Sensenbrenner, Burton, Scarborough, Tancredo, etc. (as well as Kucinich). Republicans like to use the courts when they can, too.

I think that you overlook an important angle on this, though, Joseph, and it's the focus of the article. Say that Congress does rescind the authorization, and instead of vetoring the bill, the president signs it but issues a signing statement nullifying its effects. It's not clear that the usual problems with standing in this area would apply, depending on how it is set up.

. . . I think that the same would hold if Bush doesn't veto the current funding bill but nullifies the funding restrictions with a signing statement (the restrictions would relate to funds for permanent bases, torture, and other things). The standing issue is different than in Campbell or the Vietnam cases.

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