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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Congressmen Comment on Iraq

The WaPo has this headline: Congress: Bush Needs Our OK on Iraq and gets some comments from members of the House and Senate.

Apparently, hearings are planned for the fall. However, it is entertaining to watch these normally proud and assertive Congressional "leaders" suddenly playing the old children's game of "Mother, May I?" All perfectly understandable, of course: plan A is to whine about the Administration leaving Congress out of the loop; Plan B is to go an record one month prior to an election either supporting or opposing the removal of Saddam by force. Tom Daschle would be well within his prerogatives to schedule a vote on action against Iraq. Whether he deems such a course to be politically attractive is a separate question, and illustrates again the impracticality of maintaining Presidential aspirations while serving as Senate Majority Leader.

And are Presidential hopefuls such as Kerry or Edwards pressuring Daschle to give them a vote? Please. Maybe I picked the wrong game here - perhaps Congress is actually playing "SPUD".

Nicholas Kristof Marches to War!

He opens with a clarion call: "It's time to hear about Iraq from us feckless wimps". Kristof claims to be with most Americans in believing that removing Saddam is a good idea if it won't be too painful - sort of like how people feel about a trip to the dentist, or sitting down to read a column by Paul Krugman.

Is The War Powers Act Unconstitutional?

From today's WaPo: "Presidents of both parties have considered the act unconstitutional and ignored it."

Is there a lawyer in the blogosphere? I found this bit on a website, and excerpt as follows:

"As was indicated above, Section 5(c) of the War Powers Act provides that, at any time after the President engages U.S. military forces in hostilities abroad, in the absence of a congressional declaration or war or a congressional statute specifically authorizing the action, (1) Congress may pass a concurrent resolution directing the President to withdraw the troops from hostilities and (2) the President must immediately comply with the concurrent resolution. Section 5(c) is seriously flawed, constutution-wise. The Section gives the force of law to a concurrent resolution, which is passed by majorities in both chambers of Congress, but is not presented to the President for his consent or veto....Giving the force of law to a concurrent resolution dealing with the circumstances specified in Section 5(c) allows Congress to exercise a legislative veto over military actions initiated by the President without a congressional war declaration or authorizing statute....

In Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha (l983), the U.S. Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the legislative veto, as provided for in Section 244(c)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952. The Court held that the legislative veto was a resolution subject to the requirements of Article I, Section 7, Clause 3, of the Constitution....

Despite its obvious unconstitutionality, Section 5(c) has never been struck down by the Supreme Court. Why? Congress has yet to invoke this section of the War Powers Act. Until Congress does invoke Section 5(c) and the constitutionality of the provision and the action of Congress in attempting to enforce it are challenged in the federal courts, the Supreme Court will not have the opportunity to rule on the question of the constitutional validity of Section 5(c) and its enforcement..."

Send in the lawyers. However, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb, said it best: "I don't play this game so much on what's legal and what's not legal," [he] said of a U.S. attack on Iraq. "If the president is going to commit this nation to war, he'd better have the support of the Congress and the American people with him."

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