Skip to content

Category Archives: AUMF: Scope and Reach

Obama’s Surprising War Powers Legacy

By and
Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 8:56 AM

We have an essay in The New Republic titled Obama, Not Bush, Is the Master of Unilateral War.  It argues that President Obama, ironically in light of his own lofty rhetoric about lodging war decisions with “the people’s representatives” in Congress, has through his practices created new precedents that push outward the boundaries of unilateral . . .
Read more »

End of “Forever War” Watch, Columbus Day Weekend Edition

By
Monday, October 13, 2014 at 3:35 PM

Last year President Obama called for the end of the 2001 AUMF conflict and wagged his finger at people who thought continued statutory authority was needed to meet the continuing and morphing Islamic terrorist threats.  You know the lines.  “I will not sign laws designed to expand this [2001 AUMF] mandate further,” and “this war, . . .
Read more »

On Ryan Goodman’s Hopeful Take on Ending the Forever War (Or: Why Legal Debates About the 2001 AUMF Don’t Affect National Security Reality)

By
Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 3:14 PM

A few responses to Ryan Goodman’s reality-defying take on my claim that the Obama administration’s idea of ending the “Forever War” is dead: *       Legal rationales debated by law professors will have zero influence on the duration of the “Forever War.”  The actions of the Islamist terrorists, and our success in defeating . . .
Read more »

More on the War Powers Resolution and the Use of Force Against the Islamic State

By
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 12:56 PM

This morning I argued that the Obama administration had violated the War Powers Resolution unless its is correct in its contention that the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs together authorize the use of force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  Three follow-ups: First, I speculated this morning that “the administration was pushed by the looming . . .
Read more »

The Administration Has Violated the War Powers Resolution Unless It is Right About the Applicability of the AUMFs to the Islamic State

By
Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 7:50 AM

On Monday, Senator Cruz maintained that the War Powers Resolution (WPR) clock had expired because 60 days had passed since the first air strikes against the Islamic State, which the President notified Congress about in a letter to Congress on August 8.  “Given that 60 days has expired,” the Senator argued, “the president should come . . .
Read more »

History Suggests That Congress Will Only Authorize Force Against the Islamic State If the President Proposes and Pushes For an Authorization (or Screws Up Unilateral Force Badly)

By
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at 8:30 AM

President Obama says he would “welcome congressional support” but does not need authorization from Congress in order to use force against the Islamic State.  The President appears to have taken no steps to propose actual language to Congress or to move the idea of an authorization along.  And Congress appears to have done nothing significant . . .
Read more »

The Significance of Harold Koh’s Legal Defense of the Administration’s Interpretation of the 2001 AUMF

By
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 7:02 AM

Harold’s Koh’s grudging defense of the domestic legal basis for President’s Obama’s use of force against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is important.  It adds little new to other defenses of the President’s position – a legal position, I have argued in past posts, is politically stupid and constitutionally imprudent but nonetheless legally . . .
Read more »

Why it Might Matter Whether the Islamic State Was AUMF-able Last Year

By
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 8:46 AM

In February, Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller wrote a story in the WP about how Al-Qaeda’s then-recent expulsion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, now Islamic State, or IS) raised questions about whether the AUMF “still applies” to ISIS.  “According to some administration lawyers and intelligence officials,” they reported, “the expulsion of ISIS . . .
Read more »

A Standoff of Agreement Over an ISIS AUMF

By
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 8:46 AM

You know that the political system has reached a moment of special paralysis when a standoff emerges out of agreement. Yet that is what appears to be happening with respect to the politics of authorizing force against ISIS. Over the weekend, the Sunday talk shows featured interviews with both White House officials and the senior House leadership. . . .
Read more »

A Less Generous Take on Greenwald’s Latest

By
Monday, September 29, 2014 at 2:59 PM

Jack is very generous to Glenn Greenwald in his post earlier today, in which he notes areas where he agrees with what he terms Greenwald’s “skeptical takedown of the factual basis for the attacks on the Khorasan Group (KG) in Syria, and the American Press’s complicity, based on anonymous USG sources, in spreading war-mongering exaggerations about . . .
Read more »

Islamic State Reconciling with Jabhat al-Nusra, and Strengthening President’s 2001 AUMF Argument

By
Sunday, September 28, 2014 at 4:34 PM

The Guardian reports that USG bombing of Jabhat al-Nusra, the al Qaeda group (or AQ-affiliated group) in Syria that has been at odds with the Islamic State for a year or so: Air strikes continued to target Islamic State (Isis) positions near the Kurdish town of Kobani and hubs across north-east Syria on Sunday, as . . .
Read more »

Heritage Event on “The Legal Basis for Military Action against ISIS”

By
Friday, September 26, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Featuring Cully Stimson, Bobby Chesney, Steve Vladeck, and Steve Bradbury. Here’s the video:

The Obama Administration’s Legal Justification for Strikes Against the Islamic State In Syria

By
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Based on comments from senior Obama administration officials who spoke on “the condition of anonymity,” Charlie Savage reports the Obama administration’s legal theory for the use of force against the Islamic State. Savage says that the domestic legal justification is both the 2001 and the 2002 AUMFs: Administration officials have said that as a matter . . .
Read more »

The Draft AUMFs for the Islamic State Do Not Limit Congressional Authorization on Ground Troops, or Geography, or Associated Forces

By
Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 8:12 AM

The two most promising Islamic State AUMFs I have seen are the one sponsored by Representative Schiff and the one sponsored by Senator Kaine.  Both drafts, in different ways, purport to limit the authorization for the President to use force against the Islamic State in at least three respects: (1) They authorize force only in . . .
Read more »

Too Soon to Assess the President’s Invocation of the 2001 AUMF as to ISIS?

By
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Over the past week there has been much talk about the President’s invocation of the 2001 AUMF in connection with ISIS. Many (including me) expressed considerable surprise, and doubt, about the merits of that argument. Which raises the question: will anything come of objections? One view is that this ship has sailed. Writing today at . . .
Read more »

The Administration Should Explain Its International Legal Basis to Attack ISIL in Syria

By
Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Over the last several days, Administration officials have tried valiantly to explain the Administration’s surprising 11th hour discovery that the 2001 AUMF and indeed the 2002 AUMF provide a domestic law basis for the U.S. use of force in Iraq and Syria. The abrupt volte-face in the Administration’s domestic legal position has been the subject of . . .
Read more »

Obama Administration Claims that 2002 Iraq Resolution is a Legal Basis for Air Strikes Against the Islamic State [UPDATED]

By
Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 6:57 AM

I always thought the 2002 AUMF was an obvious basis for air strikes against the Islamic State, easily in Iraq and possibly (given the right circumstances) in Syria.  Today Charlie Savage reports that “the White House believes that Congress’s 2002 authorization of the Iraq war — and not just the 2001 authorization to fight Al Qaeda . . .
Read more »

We are (or Will Soon Be) at War With the Islamic State

By
Friday, September 12, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Secretary of State Kerry said yesterday: We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation [against the Islamic State], and it’s going to be a long-term counterterrorism operation.  I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy . . . . Though the Secretary was not thinking in legal terms, it is worth noting that his statement is . . .
Read more »

Further Reflections on the Legal Rationale For Using Force Against the Islamic State

By
Friday, September 12, 2014 at 7:47 AM

I had a pretty harsh reaction to the administration’s claim that Congress in the 2001 AUMF authorized force against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  (For a different view, see Marty Lederman’s post.)  While I think the administration’s interpretation of the 2001 AUMF is unconvincing, I do not believe (as Bruce Ackerman appears to say today . . .
Read more »

President Obama’s Astonishing War Powers Legacy

By
Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 7:55 AM

That is the topic of my essay at Time.com in reaction to the announcement yesterday that the Obama administration believes the 2001 AUMF authorizes force against the Islamic State today.  The essay begins: Future historians will ask why George W. Bush sought and received express congressional authorization for his wars (against al Qaeda and Iraq) . . .
Read more »