Imagine what the public response would be if former President George W. Bush, during his term of office, had engaged in armed conflict with some country without securing Congressional authorization under the War Powers Resolution, adopted in 1973. That resolution allows the President to engage in “hostilities” for a period of 60 days (with a further 30-day withdrawal period) without Congressional authorization, so that he/she would have the necessary freedom to act immediately to protect the national interest. For example, if American citizens were in danger in some country and American military forces were needed to rescue them, the President could do that on his own discretion and get out. However, if he wants to stay more than 60 days, he is required to come to the Congress, explain why and seek Congressional authorization.
Apparently, as a result of the President’s decision to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and the Pentagon, The Times of June 20th reported, “[t]he House appears likely to vote this week on a measure that would limit financing for the American military efforts in Libya, using the chamber’s appropriations power to push back against the White House, which did not seek Congressional authorization for the mission.”
Will the Democratic-controlled Senate hold President Obama to the same standard the Republican-controlled House appears prepared to do and that which the Senate undoubtedly would have done to President Bush? Will equal justice prevail in the legislative branch of our government, and will those we elected do their duty, no matter how painful it may be?