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Crisis in Syria = A Constitutional Crisis? "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation.

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Presentation on theme: "Crisis in Syria = A Constitutional Crisis? "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Crisis in Syria = A Constitutional Crisis? "The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation. In instances of self- defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. Senator/Presidential Candidate Barack Obama, 2007 President Obama on Syrian Military Strike, August 31, 2013

2 The Constitutional Conflict: Article 2, Section 2: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; Article 1, Section 8: The Congress shall have power... To declare war.... To raise and support armies... To provide and maintain a navy; To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces; To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them... The President Congressvs

3 The Legal Issue: The War Powers Resolution Passed by an angry Congress November 7, 1973 over the veto of President Nixon 1)Section 3 requires the president to consult with Congress prior to introducing forces into hostilities. 2)Section 4 requires initial reporting by the president to Congress within 48 hours and follow-on reports at least every six months. 3)Section 5 specifies timelines. Forces initially deployed under presidential authority must be withdrawn within 60 days after the initial report to Congress but only if the report cites section 4(a)(1)...and the 60-days can be extended another 30 days if the president notifies Congress

4 The (relatively recent) History of U.S. Military Intervention... World War I (1917) World War II (1941) Vietnam War (1968)** Invasion of Afghanistan (2001)** Invasion of Iraq (2003)** ** entered with a Congressional resolution rather than official declaration of war WITH Congressional Approval vs WITHOUT Congressional Approval Korean War (1950) Invasion of Grenada (1983) Bombing of Libya (1986) Invasion of Panama (1989) Missile Attacks in Sudan & Afghanistan (1998) Troops to Haiti (1994) Bombing of Kosovo (1999) Bombing of Libya (2011)

5 1) DOES President Obama Have to Consult Congress Prior to taking Military Action Against Syria? 2) SHOULD President Obama Consult Congress Prior to taking Military Action Against Syria? 3) WHAT Is Congress So Worried About?

6 Is Congress Supporting President Obama? Senators Draft Resolution to Limit Syria Action to 90 Days; No Boots on Ground Obama Wins House Speaker Boehners Support; Confident Congress Will Authorize Syria Strike 1) In the House of Representatives... 2) In the Senate...

7 The Presidential Blank Check: SEC. 2. That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons. SEC. 3. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES. (a) Authorization.--The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to-- (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. Authorization for Use of Military Force Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution vs

8 Is Congressional Support for Taking Action Against Syria Good for Democracy? 1) Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Majority Oppose Syrian Strike Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Majority Oppose Syrian Strike 2) Republican and Democratic Leaders Offer Strong Support for Strike Against Syria Republican and Democratic Leaders Offer Strong Support for Strike Against Syria 3) The 3 Take-Aways The 3 Take-Aways


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