Their 36-page complaint cogently and thoroughly makes the case that Obama’s military action is indeed a war, that it was undertaken and is being funded in violation of the U.S. Constitution, that the administration has failed to satisfy the requirements of the War Powers Resolution, and that therefore the court should order the President to “suspend military operations in Libya absent a declaration of war from Congress.”
The administration has maintained from the outset that its participation in the NATO operation in Libya does not amount to war. The White House reiterated this position in a June 15 report to Congress:
The President is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of “hostilities” contemplated by the Resolution’s 60 day termination provision. U.S. forces are playing a constrained and supporting role in a multinational coalition.
However, as the lawsuit makes clear,
U.S. operations in Libya now include all of the classic elements of a war, including but not limited to close combat support, bombing of Libya’s capital and key Libyan military assets, and commitment of U.S. personnel to ground operations to assist the rebel forces in the Libyan civil war.
Moreover, while Obama now claims that the War Powers Resolution does not apply to the Libyan operation, at the time the operation commenced he notified Congress that he had ordered the armed forces to undertake the mission, specifically stating that he was “providing this report as part of [his] efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution.” The President obviously wants to have it both ways: abiding by the law when it is convenient for him and ignoring it when it is inconvenient.
The bipartisan lawsuit, which also involves Ron Paul, makes the case of unconstitutionality in regards to the U.S. military action in Libya. See this post to see just how involved we are in Libya (as of late May); follow the links there to see the staggering cost of all of this as well.
The War Powers Resolution forbids the President to take military action extending past 60 days without permission of Congress. We’ve been taking action since around the middle of March, and no efforts to withdraw forces from the area have been made. President Obama’s actions are defying the Resolution as he has not received the approval of Congress in committing the military to a third war.
Hopefully the lawsuit will force him to approach Congress, which will deny him military-action, or skip that step and simply abandon his position on the issue.