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Latest in 2001 AUMF
Recent moves and countermoves by the U.S. and Iran in the Persian Gulf over the past few months have increased speculation about the prospect of war in the region. Some members of Congress, including a few Republicans, have stated that the president cannot use military force against the Islamic Republic without the approval of the legislature.
Recent tensions between the United States and Iran have led many members of Congress to speculate about what legal authority the Trump administration may claim it has to go to war without congressional authorization. On June 28, the State Department gave a partial answer to these questions, at least insofar as they relate to the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs).
For the past two months, the Middle East has teetered on the edge of war. Tensions over the U.S. “maximum pressure” campaign have led Iran to target maritime shipping in the Persian Gulf, launch rockets on U.S.
On Dec. 11, the New York City Bar Association hosted a session on “The Global War on Terrorism: Do We Need a New AUMF?” William Castle, deputy general counsel of the Department of Defense, explained why the Trump administration contends that the 2001 and 2002 authorizations for the use of military force (AUMF) suffice to justify President Donald Trump’s ongoing war against terrorist groups.
Want a thorough backgrounder on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force? This is the episode for you. (This also is the episode for you if what you want, instead, is an hour of legal blather followed by five minutes of speculation about Season 7 of Game of Thrones). The “AUMF” is the key statute on which the government relies for its post-9/11 uses of force relating to terrorism, and it has been the source of controversy and debate for the better part of the past sixteen years.
A pretty remarkable development in today's House Appropriations markup on the Defense Appopriations bill. For many years, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) has been putting forward amendments intended to repeal or sunset the 2001 AUMF. They normally do not go anywhere. This morning she moved one that would terminate the 2001 AUMF in 240 days, and lo-and-behold the majority went along with it. It passed with only Kay Granger (R-TX) opposing.
Early Sunday evening, a US Navy F/A-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 that had just completed a bombing run targeting US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Raqqa region. The episode raises important questions under the U.N. Charter (see Adil Ahmad Haque’s analysis here). But what about U.S. domestic law?
As several colleagues noted last week, Representative Adam Schiff has revived his effort to get Congress to replace the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs with a new “Consolidated AUMF” that would explicitly name the Islamic State (he had a similar bill in the last Congress, which Jack endorsed here). What follows below is a section-by-section analysis of H.J. Res.
In a post earlier today, I highlighted a variety of recent developments in which the Obama administration has adjusted constraints on using force under color of the AUMF, based in part on the report in the