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by Michael Peroutka

 Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, along with a number of other Congressmen, has filed suit in federal Court against  Barak Obama for unauthorized use of the united States military in Libya. 

According to Congressman Bartlett’s statements on a recent radio interview, Obama has violated the Constitution, which gives only Congress the authority to declare war, and also the War Powers Act, which requires that the use of military prior to Congressional authorization can only occur when these united States are attacked. 

We agree completely with Congressman Bartlett that Obama’s actions violate the Constitution and the War Powers statute and we thank him for his leadership in raising this issue. 

We have often said that the Constitution is NOT a self enforcing document.  That is to say, the words of the Constitution, while very clear and unambiguous, will not leap off the page and solve our problems for us.  The Constitution, we understand, needs champions and supporters who will be active and vocal and resist the tendency for governments to violate its jurisdiction.  So we thank the Congressman.

Respectfully, however, we would suggest that while the filing of  a lawsuit might garner a little attention, it falls far short of the duty that each member of Congress has sworn to do.

Rather than seek a remedy with the Judicial Branch, the Congress has an affirmative duty to and an ability to act to defend the Constitution and the rule of law.  Congress could and should do at least the following:

Congress could and should call for impeachment of Barak Obama because he has blatantly and notoriously usurped the authority of Congress to declare war under Article I, and Section 8 of the Constitution.   

Congress could and should defund all military operations in Libya, and Iraq, and Afghanistan.  Congress’ funding of these unconstitutional actions makes it complicit in the wrongdoing of the executive branch.

These are actions that the Congress is authorized and, indeed, required to take pursuant to the oath of office to support the Constitution. 

While the lawsuit that has been announced is a nice symbolic action, that’s really all it is since the court will likely refuse to hear the case as it has done previously and, we believe, correctly.

Congress has a duty to interpose on our behalf, and on behalf of the Constitution, with an executive that has broken the law.  We call on them to do it.

This is MAP for IOTC bringing you TAV.