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Yoo Better Believe That’s Going Too Far

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I’ll have a bigger piece about the subject next week, but as I’ve said before, to assert that presidential initiations of military force — whether wise or unwise — violate the Constitution strikes me as being as pointless and anachronistic as claiming that the federal government lacks the power to regulate the national economy. I’m not crazy about the consequences of the de facto constitutional order with respect to presidential war powers, but in Congress continues to delegate warmaking authority to the president I think the issues raised should properly be viewed as policy rather than constitutional questions.

But when it comes to Clinton’s claim that Obama could proceed with attacks on Libya in the face of congressional opposition, though, I get off the bus. The Constitution shares warmaking powers between the president and Congress. If Congress wants to delegate its powers to the president — whether actively or even through acquiescence — that’s one thing. But to claim that that the president can simply defy valid statutory restrictions is, as Adam says, lawless. Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s endorsement of Yoovian conceptions of executive power can no longer be considered surprising, but it’s still dismaying.

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