Last week a group of Rutgers Law students, led by the legendary Frank Askin, did something very interesting, but not covered much in the main stream press: they filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Newark accusing Bush of conducting an illegal war in violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution. The lawsuit asserts that only Congress may declare war.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of New Jersey Peace Action, and members of the New Jersey Chapter of Military Families Speak Out. Good for them. It’s about time someone did something sane regarding this war, with the Democrats in Congress lacking a backbone to do anything substantive.
Some interesting points for conservative Republicans who support this war AND the U.S. Constitution:
1- At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the framers made it abundantly clear that they wished to deny the president the power to make war independently of Congress.
2- The lawsuit cites Supreme Court rulings from the 19th century that an ‘all-out’ war could only be declared by Congress, and that Congress could only authorize the president to conduct a ‘quasi’ or ‘limited’ war.
According to New Jersey Lawyer, “the plaintiffs seek a declaration that the president’s unilateral decision to launch a full-scale invasion without congressional approval is ‘capable of repetition’.
My neo-conservative buddies just love to quote the Federalist Papers when it comes to interpreting the Constitution. Like in Federalist No. 69, which stated that a president’s war making power should be “much inferior” to that of a king.
Or Federalist No. 26, which said that Congress should have the power to declare war by a formal vote, and be required to explain their vote to constituents.
Good work, Rutgers.