Kucinich v. Obama:
Obama Has Arrogated the War Powers
of the British King to Himself
In Violation of the U.S. Constitution
Sept. 13, 20111 (EIRNS)This release was issued today by the Lyndon LaRouche Political Action Committee.
On Sept. 9, the plaintiffs in Dennis Kucinich, et al., v. Barack Obama, et al., filed a 50 page Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff's legal action accusing Obama of violating the Constitution and the War Powers Resolution in launching military hostilities with Libya without a declaration of war by the U.S. Congress.
The fact is neither the House nor the Senate has voted to authorize continued U.S. military involvement in Libya. Meanwhile, President Obama has asserted that he alone defines what a war is for constitutional purposes.
The central thrust of the argument of the plaintiffs is that Barack Obama has arrogated to himself powers exercised by the British King, which the U.S. Constitution deliberately denies to the U.S. Presidency.
Quoting extensively from the Federalist Papers, the Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, the Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, etc., the plaintiffs strongly assert that Obama as adopted the British model against which the Revolution was fought and in opposition to which the Constitution was adopted.
Thus, the memorandum says: "According to Hamilton, the President's authority as Commander-in-Chief was intended to be 'much inferior' to that of the British king.... By contrast, the power of the British king 'extended to the declaring of war and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies-all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature.
"Participants at the Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina ratification conventions repeatedly contrasted the system of war powers in Great Britain, where the king could unilaterally declare war, with the system envisioned by the proposed Constitution, where only the Congress had that power."
George Mason speaking on June 14, 1788 said:
"How is this compared to the British constitution? Though the king may declare war, the Parliament has the means of carrying it on. It is not so here. Congress can do both."
Edmond Randolph declared that the proposed Constitution placed
"more powers in the hands of the people, and greater checks upon the executive ... than in England."
"In England the king declares war. In America, Congress must be consulted. In England, Parliament gives money. In America, Congress does it."
At the North Carolina ratification convention, James Iredell noted the "very material difference" between the war powers of the king of Great Britain and that of the President, and emphasized that the President as Commander-in-Chief was not authorized to unilaterally engage in war:
"The king of Great Britain is not only the commander-in-chief of the land and naval forces, but has power, in time of war, to raise fleets and armies. He has also authority to declare war. The President has not the power of declaring war by his own authroity, nor that of raising fleets and armies. These powers are vested in other hands. The power of declaring war is expressly given to Congress...."
The plainiffs also cite a letter written by Madison to Thomas Jefferson, in which he explained the basis for the divergence from the British model:
"The constitution supposes, what the History of all governments demonstrates, that the Executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care, vested the question of war in the Legislature."
They quote from Abraham Lincoln's letter to William H. Herndon:
"The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress, was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reason. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object. This, our convention understood to be the most oppresssive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."
In 1970 the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals wrote:
"History makes clear that the congressional power to declare War .... was intended as an explicit restriction upon the power of the Executive to initiate war on its own prerogative which was enjoyed by the British sovereign."
Having thus made it clear that the issue at stake is Obama's adherence to the British system of government in opposition to the intention of the U.S. Constitution, the plaintiffs then address their standing to bring suit:
Specifically, they allege that the President's unilateral commitment of U.S. military forces in Libya deprives them of their constitutionally prescribed role in voting to initiate war, and represents an effective nullification of their votes against authorizing a continuation of hostilities in Libya. Plaintiffs have thus suffered a "complete nullification or withdrawal of a voting opportunity" concerning the initiation of hostilities.