Islamic State

Obama Administration Explains Why It Thinks Islamic State Strikes Comply With War Powers Resolution

By Jack Goldsmith
Thursday, October 16, 2014, 8:44 AM

Last week I explained that a likely major reason for the Obama administration’s switch from an Article II rationale for air strikes against the Islamic State to an AUMF rationale (2001 and 2002) was compliance with the War Power s Resolution (WPR).  Section 5(b) of the WPR requires the President to “terminate any use of United States Armed Forces” 60 days after he introduces such forces into “hostilities” unless Congress “has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces.”  If the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, properly interpreted, authorize the strikes against the Islamic State – a contested issue, of course – then the administration faces no legal issue under the WPR.

Last night Spencer Ackerman reported that this is precisely the administration’s position.  “Because the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs constitute specific authorization within the meaning of the War Powers Resolution, the War Powers Resolution’s 60-day limitation on operations does not apply here,” said Bernadette Meehan, a spokeswoman for the National Security Council.