May 20th, 2011
09:57 AM ET

Is Obama about to break the law?

By CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash

WASHINGTON (CNN) –President Obama may be on the brink of breaking the law.

At issue: The 1973 War Powers Act, which says if the president does not get congressional authorization 60 days after military action, the mission must stop within 30 days.

The president formally notified Congress about the mission in Libya with a letter on March 21, which makes Friday the 60-day deadline.

Inaction is angering lawmakers from both the left and the right who rarely agree on anything.

Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, tells CNN he believes Obama is trying to "bring democracy to Libya while shredding the Constitution of the United States."

Check out the full story on the CNN Political Ticker


Topics: Libya • President Obama

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. richard

    but thats the same thing bush did, didnt ask congress for permission to invade iraq

    May 20, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Sherri

      Check your facts Richard, you are wrong... Pres. Bush "did" get permission from congress as well as other countries supporting him on this. Obama has been breaking the law since he came into office.

      June 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  2. gsysgthartman

    Well, well, looky here. Nobody is interested. I hope he does violate the law and it ends up before the supreme court. The power to start wars does not belong with the executive.

    May 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  3. Jay in NC

    Barry has been guilty of a do- it-alone, cowboy-type reaction to foreign affairs. He sent 100s of tomahawk missiles that killed 1000s of Libyans and African children. Essentially waging war with out congressional approval.

    This week Barry talked about his true ambition for Israel. Take a step back 40 years, implement initiative endorsed by the Arab League. Kick the Jews off their land and into the ocean. In 2008 Barry said that Israel would be, quote, "crazy" to not give land to Syria. And that they should also allow the Palestinians to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem. Palestine, you know, the people that turn their women and children into suicide bombers.

    It all kinda makes you hope that preacher is right, that it will all end May 21. I am sure that Barry will even find a way to mess that up.

    May 20, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  4. Regis

    This is ludicrous. What bothers me is a handful of lawmakers posturing themselves as constitutional defenders when the War Powers Act is a Congressional abdication of their responsibility to declare war, which is the Founding Fathers-given "authorization for military action".

    In effect, we shouldn't even be having this conversation. But since we are... honestly, who cares? Congress has had two months to engage Obama on Libya and they've done nothing. So is it the President's fault they're up against the deadline, or Congress'?

    You have a hole in your story: you ought to ask whether or not the War Powers Act – in the wake of unprecedented US 'military action' all over the world for the past 40 years – is a law that makes sense any longer. Lastly, we need to talk about extending the authorization or not in context of the broader war in Libya and the Arab Spring. Can we really afford to stop action? Go ask the Libyans.

    May 20, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  5. Neil Bates

    No, I don't think President Obama violated the WPA. After all, the US Constitution says we must follow treaties, and we are part of NATO. The Libya action has been take up by NATO, and so we are not acting alone – we are fulfilling our treaty obligations. The complaint is out of order since it does not take treaty obligations into account.

    BTW CNN must not like Linux users much, since I couldn't comment from my log-in using SeaMonkey.

    May 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Eric

      Our NATO responsibilities obligate us to defend other NATO members. As far as the North Atlantic Treaty is concerned, Libya is just a war that a number of NATO nations just happen to be involved in together.

      May 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  6. Liz Carter in Georgia

    What was Bush doing with foreign policy? He didn't even know half of the foreign heads of states names; nor did he even know how to pronounce them! COWBOY? He was 'THE LONE RANGER'! He did things just exactly like he wanted to do them! And Hey! Whether we liked them or not! He even claimed to want BIN LADEN, 'dead or alive'! How much bigger of a COWBOY can you get? The big problem is, all of that fake non-sense was just that, FAKE NONSENSE! Bush didn't want BIN LADEN! He wanted OIL and Saddam! THE END!

    May 22, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • Dave

      Yawn stop bringing Bush up. I know why you did but it's now Obama in a similar position of making tough decisions and ironically you don't want to admit that he's doing the same thing in terms of foreign policy. You should accept that the two parties are more similar than different. Parties are stupid, and everyone has interests.

      May 24, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  7. Neil Bates

    No, Obama is probably not breaking the law (WPA, etc.) The US Constitution says we must follow treaties we sign. We are part of NATO, and since they are now conducting this operation we can participate because that serves as standing pre-authorization to engage in action.

    May 22, 2011 at 10:46 am |
  8. Alan MacDonald

    The good folks commenting on this site and/or story should keep in mind that Obama is acting as a faux-emperor/president of the global corporate/financial/militarist Empire which now controls our former country (as well as U.K. Israel, et al) by hiding behind the facade of the empire's bought and owned TWO-Party modernized Nazi-like 'Vichy" sham of faux-democratic government, and equally "Vichy" corporatist (fascist) media (which provides propaganda lies to Americans of both the left and the right).

    As such faux-emperor/president it is certainly true that Obama does not represent the interests of the general population of honest, average, middle/working-class Americans in the subsumed US territory any more than all of the previous faux-emperor/presidents; Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, and Bush II have helped this disguised Empire capture our country.

    Therefore, it is entirely rational and reasonable, in line with the majority of comments, that any and all of these political pawns posing as faux-emperor/presidents were not legal presidents of our fading democratic country - and that all posters who have voiced such valid criticism and disgust with Obama should work toward insuring that no further faux-emperor/presidents of the disguised global EMPIRE that now IS the US should be allowed to take office for the EMPIRE.

    I applaud any effort to expose, educate, expunge, and excise any candidates for the office of President of the US who are actually pawns of the hidden global Empire.  Only through serious and principled efforts can we recover our country from the clutches of this disguised global Empire.  And all good Americans should avoid voting for any such phonies and pawns of Empire by avoiding any voting for any Empire endorsed, Empire captured, Empire funded, and Empire disguised candidate of either phony political party -- by requiring any candidate for president of our country to address the issue of where they stand on the global Empire which is in the process of fully taking over our country.  And ANY candidate who pretends not to be able to address the issue of the EMPIRE is clearly a phony stooge and candidate of this global Empire - who should never be voted for by any true American who loves their democratic Republic and hates the type of Empire that oppressed; politically, economically, and militarily our forefathers in the colonies prior to 1776.

    Alan MacDonald
    Sanford, Maine
    Liberty & democracy over violent empire - New America People's Party 2012

    May 24, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Regis

      Thank you for noting that we are good folks, and I certainly assume that you are equally well-meaning, however I'm completely at a loss to understand what you're talking about. Basically what you're saying sounds 'pretty' (I like the alliteration: "expose, educate, expunge and excise") nevertheless it is fairly devoid of practical meaning. Instead of fringe rhetoric, might I suggest meeting people on common ground with shared language? That at least allows the ability to critique the merit of another person's ideas.

      .. .

      May 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm |