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Obama Under Assault for Latest Constitutional Violation

Sept. 12, 2014 (EIRNS)—Following his Wednesday night address to the nation, President Obama has come under continuous, scathing attack for ripping up the Constitution in refusing to come to Congress for authorization for his latest war in Iraq and Syria.

The most dramatic attack came in today’s New York Times in an op-ed by Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman, under the headline "Obama’s Betrayal of the Constitution."

Ackerman began his lengthy piece by declaring that

"President Obama’s declaration of war against the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria marks a decisive break in the American constitutional tradition. Nothing attempted by his predecessor, George W. Bush, remotely compares in imperial hubris." Citing Obama’s claim that he has legal grounds to go to war against ISIL without new Congressional authorization, Ackerman wrote, "The Obama Administration has not even published a legal opinion attempting to justify the president’s assertion of unilateral war-making authority. This is because no serious opinion can be written.... He is acting on the proposition that the president, in his capacity as commander in chief, has unilateral authority to declare war. In taking this step, Mr. Obama is not only betraying the electoral majorities who twice voted him into office on his promise to end Bush-era abuses of executive authority. He is also betraying the Constitution he swore to uphold."

In an essay for Time magazine, former Bush Justice Department official Jack Goldsmith similarly assailed President Obama for his abuse of power in claiming authority to go to war against ISIL without Congressional authorization.

"His announcement that he will expand the use of military force against the Islamic State without the need for new congressional consent marks his latest adventure in unilateralism and cements an astonishing legacy of expanding presidential war powers.... The President’s gambit is, at bottom, Presidential unilateralism masquerading as implausible statutory interpretation."

Writing in Thursday’s Daily Beast, Eli Lake polled a number of legal experts who "were shocked to learn Wednesday that the Obama administration wants to rely on that 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force against al-Qaeda for the ISIS war. On its face, this is an implausible argument, because the 2001 AUMF requires a nexus to al-Qaeda or associated forces of al-Qaeda fighting the United States," according to Robert Chesney of the University of Texas Law School. "Since ISIS broke up with al-Qaeda, it’s hard to make that argument."