Thursday, June 16, 2011
Not a bad idea...but who would we get next? Biden?
by Jacob G. Hornberger
Article II, Section 4, of the Constitution states in part:
“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Article I, Section 8, states in part:
“The Congress shall have Power To Declare War….”
The Constitution is the highest law of the land. It is the law that the citizenry of the United States imposed on federal officials as a condition to calling the federal government into existence.
Since the Framers delegated the power to declare war to Congress, the Constitution prohibits the president from waging war without first securing a declaration of war from Congress.
Everyone acknowledges that President Obama has waged war against Libya without the constitutionally required congressional declaration of war. By ordering U.S. armed forces to attack Libya, Obama intentionally, knowingly, and willingly violated the law — the law of the Constitution.
Obama’s war on Libya has resulted in the deaths of untold number of people who have never attacked the United States. His war of aggression has also exposed the American people to the increased threat of terrorism, which federal officials commonly cite as the justification for further infringements on the civil liberties of the American people.
Obama’s war on Libya clearly falls within the category of a “high crime or misdemeanor.” In fact, given the death and destruction and the real and potential harm to the safety and freedom of the American people, Obama’s war is akin to a political felony.
So, I say: Impeach him. In fact, I can’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be impeached. He has broken the law — the people’s law — the law of the Constitution, and he has done so knowingly, intentionally, and willfully.
What would be Obama’s defense at his impeachment trial? Unable to deny the charge, his only claim would be that since other presidents have violated the same law and nothing was done to them, he should be let off the hook too.
But is that a valid defense? It certainly isn’t permitted in criminal cases in which the feds charge citizens with violations of their laws. If a citizen is charged with illegal possession of drugs, for example, he isn’t permitted to defend against the charge by claiming that others similarly situated weren’t charged.
So, why should Obama’s “defense” be treated any differently?
Even if Obama were to be acquitted, wouldn’t it be constructive to finally bring a president to account for his willful violation of this particular provision of the Constitution? At the very least, a powerful message would be sent to Obama and all future presidents: Try this again and you will be removed from office.
Given that the U.S. Supreme Court long ago signaled that it would not enforce this particular provision of the Constitution no matter how important it was, it’s up to Congress to do so. If presidents can ignore the law, then what’s the point of having a Constitution?
It’s time for Congress to enforce our law — the law of the Constitution — the law that we the people have imposed on federal officials. What better way to do that than by impeaching President Obama for the high crime or misdemeanor of waging war on Libya without the congressional declaration of war required by the Constitution?