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The National Security Archive at George Washington University

CONSORTIUM NEWS - Edited by Robert Parry


February 25, 2003

Federal Lawsuit to Stop Iraq War Dismissed; Appeal Filed

'Judge rejects lawsuit seeking to bar president from launching war' (2/24/03 - AP via NY Newsday)

A lawsuit filed on Feb. 13 in Federal court seeking to stop the US invasion of Iraq has been dismissed pursuant to a motion filed by the Bush Administration. The suit was filed by a group of 15 plaintiffs, including members of the US military, families of members of the military, and six US Congressmen. Six more members of Congress signed on to the suit last week.

The plaintiffs immediately filed an appeal and a Motion for Expedited Review.

The suit alleges that the resolution Congress approved in October supporting military action against Iraq did not specifically declare war and unlawfully ceded the decision to President Bush, in violation of the US Constitution. Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the Constitution states that only Congress has the power to declare war.

On Feb. 20, government attorneys filed the motion to dismiss with US District Judge Joseph Tauro. The motion argued that the courts should not get involved in this "delicate international political scenario." It also maintained that "Such an intrusion could embolden Iraq and thus reduce the chances of a peaceful resolution."

In his ruling, Judge Tauro claims there is no "clear, resolute conflict" between the executive and legislative branches in this case. In a reference to the War Powers Act, Tauro also did not accept the requirement of Congressional authority. "Case law makes clear that the Congress does not have the exclusive right to determine whether or not the United States engages in war," he said.

The very same Judge Tauro dismissed a suit 30 years ago that challenged President Richard Nixon's authority to bomb Cambodia, also ruling in that case that the matter was "beyond the authority of a federal court to hear or determine."

[Read the source...]

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