Obama overruled top Pentagon, DOJ lawyers on Libya war powers

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Trajan, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    well, saw this on Memorandum.....I saw it at hot air as well and, frankly, I would be just robing their words so I will let them tell it...

    first the Times;

    2 Top Lawyers Lost to Obama in Libya War Policy Debate

    WASHINGTON — President Obama rejected the views of top lawyers at the Pentagon and the Justice Department when he decided that he had the legal authority to continue American military participation in the air war in Libya without Congressional authorization, according to officials familiar with internal administration deliberations.

    Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon general counsel, and Caroline D. Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, had told the White House that they believed that the United States military’s activities in the NATO-led air war amounted to “hostilities.” Under the War Powers Resolution, that would have required Mr. Obama to terminate or scale back the mission after May 20.

    But Mr. Obama decided instead to adopt the legal analysis of several other senior members of his legal team — including the White House counsel, Robert Bauer, and the State Department legal adviser, Harold H. Koh — who argued that the United States military’s activities fell short of “hostilities.” Under that view, Mr. Obama needed no permission from Congress to continue the mission unchanged.

    Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch…

    The administration followed an unusual process in developing its position. Traditionally, the Office of Legal Counsel solicits views from different agencies and then decides what the best interpretation of the law is. The attorney general or the president can overrule its views, but rarely do.

    In this case, however, Ms. Krass was asked to submit the Office of Legal Counsel’s thoughts in a less formal way to the White House, along with the views of lawyers at other agencies. After several meetings and phone calls, the rival legal analyses were submitted to Mr. Obama, who is a constitutional lawyer, and he made the decision.

    more at-
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/18/world/africa/18powers.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all


    comment-
    The Times is treating it as the major story that it is, but under a Republican president (especially one named, say, George Bush) it would be a scandal of nuclear proportions. What they’re basically saying here, without actually saying it, is that the president’s own lawyers told him that the Libya war is illegal and he responded by looking around for other lawyers who’d tell him what he wanted to hear.

    See what he did here? The OLC is typically called “the president’s law firm” because it’s tasked with advising him on what he can and can’t legally do with his office. They study the law and consult with relevant agencies, and then they make a formal determination to guide his actions. That’s what should have happened here — they likely would have determined that he was violating the War Powers Act, which in turn would have forced him to go to Congress and finally request formal authorization of the mission. (In fact, Johnson, the Pentagon’s counsel, reportedly told Obama he’d be on firmer ground if he stopped the drone strikes, at least. Obama refused.) This time, because he almost certainly knew that they’d tell him that he was in violation, he bypassed the normal procedures to avoid a binding ruling and treated the OLC as if it was just one lawyer among many. He rigged the game because he knew what the probable outcome would be if he didn’t. Disgraceful.

    NYT: Obama overruled top Pentagon, DOJ lawyers on Libya war powers « Hot Air
     
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  2. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    It seems Obama did not like the legal advice he was getting, and instead of soliciting advice about what the law really means and how it applies decided to look for opinions that supported his position.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/18/world/africa/18powers.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all
     
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  3. Truthseeker420
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    Truthseeker420 Gold Member

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    Good for Obama he did the right thing.
     
  4. ConHog
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    ConHog BANNED

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    For shame QW, Emperors don't answer to anyone. You should know that.
     
  5. Baruch Menachem
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    Baruch Menachem '

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    Every President since Nixon has maintained that the law is unconstitutional anyway.

    Now we get to test it out in court
     
  6. grunt11b
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    grunt11b VIP Member

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    Impeachable offense? Maybe, maybe not. Doesn't matter now though, he has amassed so much power up top and within the court system it's not like anyone can/will do anything about it. The best we can hope for is to vote him and the rest out of office, and I do mean the rest from both sides of the isle.
     
  7. Polk
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    Polk Classic

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    Getting conflicting advice from counsel is an impeachment offense?
     
  8. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    Well be that as it may, that doesn't provide him cover,he doesn't like what the WP act says, hey, have congress change it, in that lets take Booosh. he was accused of evidence shopping ala making his case for the invasion of iraq. *shrugs*.

    Obama lawyer shopped. We heard ad nauseam about the heinous decision(s) of Boooosh's OLC gurus; Yoo, Bybee et al, ala water boarding etc.

    this is from the Times, not Fox et al;

    Presidents have the legal authority to override the legal conclusions of the Office of Legal Counsel and to act in a manner that is contrary to its advice, but it is extraordinarily rare for that to happen. Under normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding on the executive branch…

    The administration followed an unusual process in developing its position. Traditionally, the Office of Legal Counsel solicits views from different agencies and then decides what the best interpretation of the law is. The attorney general or the president can overrule its views, but rarely do.


    What they’re basically saying here, without actually saying it, is that the president’s own lawyers told him that the Libya war is illegal and he responded by looking around for other lawyers who’d tell him what he wanted to hear outside the mechanism put in place that provides that advice.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2011
  9. The T
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    The T George S. Patton Party Supporting Member

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    In other words? Obama still thinks he's a King, and can do what the Hell he likes as long as he gets bolstering of the appropriate 'yesmen' despite the fact he knows he's wrong.
     
  10. California Girl
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    California Girl BANNED

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    I don't think he 'knows he's wrong', I think that he's made the classic mistake of believing his own hype.... he think he's above the law.
     

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