Congressional Lawsuit Over Obama Administration’s Violation of War Powers Act in Libya

~II~ THE WATCHTOWERS ~II~

Dennis Kucinich, Walter B. Jones, John Conyers, Jr., Roscoe Bartlett, Michael E. Capuano, Dan Burton, Howard Coble, John J. Duncan, Jr., Timothy V. Johnson, and Ron Paul

  • 36 pages
  • June 15, 2011

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COMPLAINT FOR INJUNCTIVE AND DECLARATORY RELIEF

Plaintiffs Dennis Kucinich, Walter B. Jones, John Conyers, Jr., Roscoe Bartlett, Michael E. Capuano, Dan Burton, Howard Coble, John J. Duncan, Jr., Timothy V. Johnson, and Ron Paul (hereinafter “the Plaintiffs”), all members of Congress, bring this Complaint in their official capacities and as taxpayers and allege as follows:

NATURE OF THE ACTION

1. This is an action for injunctive and declaratory relief to protect the Plaintiffs and the country from a stated policy of Defendant Barack Obama, President of the United States, whereby a president may unilaterally go to war in Libya and other countries without the declaration of war from Congress required by Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution.

2. This action further seeks injunctive and declaratory relief to protect the Plaintiffs and the country from the violation of the War Powers Resolution resulting from the Obama Administration’s established policy that the President does not require congressional authorization to use military force in wars like the one in Libya.

3. This action further seeks injunctive and declaratory relief to protect the Plaintiffs and the country from a policy that a president may commit the United States to a war under the authority of the United Nations without authorization from Congress.

4. This action further seeks injunctive and declaratory relief to protect the Plaintiffs and the country from a policy that a president may commit the United States to a war under the authority of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in violation of the express conditions of the North Atlantic Treaty ratified by Congress.

5. This action further seeks injunctive and declaratory relief to protect the Plaintiffs and the country from a policy that a president may use funds, previously appropriated by Congress, for unconstitutional and unauthorized wars in Libya or other countries.

139. On May 20, 2011, President Obama sent a letter to congressional leadership informing it that his Administration concluded that the War Powers Resolution does not apply to the U.S. involvement in Libya because of the limited nature of that involvement. See Jake Tapper, White House on War Powers Deadline: Limited Role Means No Need to Get Congressional Authorization, ABCNEWS.com (May 20, 2011, 7:14 PM), http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2011/05/white-house-on-war-powers-deadlinelimited-us-role-in-libya-means-no-need-to-get-congressional-autho.html.

140. Specifically, President Obama stated that the War Powers Resolution does not apply because:

U.S. participation has consisted of: (1) non-kinetic support to the NATO-led operation, including intelligence, logistical support, and search and rescue assistance; (2) aircraft that have assisted in the suppression and destruction of air defenses in support of the no-fly zone; and (3) since April 23, precision strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles against a limited set of clearly defined targets in support of the NATO-led coalition’s efforts.

Id. (quoting the President’s May 20, 2011 letter).

141. The level of involvement described by the President’s letter falls well within the scope of the War Powers Resolution, which applies whenever U.S. armed forces are either “introduced . . . into hostilities or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances,” 50 U.S.C. § 1543(a)(1), or are introduced “into the territory, airspace or waters of a foreign nation, while equipped for combat, except for deployments which relate solely to supply, replacement, repair, or training of such forces,” id. § 1543(a)(2).

142. On June 14, 2011, Speaker John Boehner sent a letter to President Obama informing him that the ninety-day period under the War Powers Resolution would pass on June 17th and that the President has failed to comply with the statute. Boehner Warns Obama on Libya, Wall St. J., June 14, 2011.

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