Congress has given President Obama notice that, if he initiates the use of offensive military force without prior and clear authorization through an Act of Congress, the action would constitute an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under Article II, Section IV of the Constitution.
Specifically, H. Con. Resolution 107 has been introduced by Congressman Walter B. Jones of North Carolina:
“The issue of presidents taking this country to war without congressional approval is one that I have long been concerned about…Just last week, President Obama’s Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta told the United States Senate that he only needed to seek ‘international’ approval prior to initiating yet another war, this time in Syria.”
Jones was referring to an exchange between Senator Jeff Sessions, and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, in which Panetta indicated that “international permission” rather than Congressional approval provided a “legal basis” for military action by the United States.
After Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, General Martin Dempsey acknowledged to Senator Sessions, that the military does act with the authority of Congress (via a declaration of war or under the War Powers Resolution), Panetta continued to insist that he needed to seek legal authorization from the United Nations and/or NATO.
Congressman Jones explained:
“Congress would merely need to be ‘informed.’ This action would clearly be a violation of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. I recently took President Obama to court over this issue, as I did earlier with President Clinton. Enough is enough. It is time this country upholds the Constitution and the principles upon which this country was founded”
The Resolution begins with this:
“Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution…Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it…Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.”
Republican Presidential Candiate Newt Gingrich weighed in today, stating that the Defense Secretary should resign, based on his comments to Senator Sessions.