War Resolution

As the fracas continues over the President's authorization of domestic eavesdropping against potential enemies of this country, it is useful to recall the text of the war resolution that was passed by Congress following 9/11.  There is an excellent brief review of the passage of this act by the Congressional Research Service  dated January 4,2006.

The formal title of the resolution is S.J. Res. 23.  After the introductory 'whereas' clauses, the business end of the war resolution says:

That the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations, or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism [emphasis added] against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons.

The CRS report notes that this resolution is less broad that the text suggested by the White House which included the term 'pre—empt.'  However, to a citizen, the difference in wording from the White House to the Congressional version appears to be mostly a distinction without a difference.

Doubtless there is still room to question whether the president was given sufficient authority for domestic spying on foreign enemies, which is the current point in dispute.  The president's position appears to rest on his inherent Constitution powers rather than on S.J. Res. 23.  And not being a lawyer, I am not suggesting this short piece is a legal brief for the president.

However, reviewing the language actually passed by Congress in September 2001 reconfirms that the president was given broad powers both to respond to past actions and forestall future actions.  S.J. Res. 23 has not been withdrawn; it is Congress' still—active statement on the current situation.  We are at war.  It is useful to remember that, and that Congress has explicitly authorized it.

Greg Richards   1 15 06

As the fracas continues over the President's authorization of domestic eavesdropping against potential enemies of this country, it is useful to recall the text of the war resolution that was passed by Congress following 9/11.  There is an excellent brief review of the passage of this act by the Congressional Research Service  dated January 4,2006.

The formal title of the resolution is S.J. Res. 23.  After the introductory 'whereas' clauses, the business end of the war resolution says:

That the president is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations, or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism [emphasis added] against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons.

The CRS report notes that this resolution is less broad that the text suggested by the White House which included the term 'pre—empt.'  However, to a citizen, the difference in wording from the White House to the Congressional version appears to be mostly a distinction without a difference.

Doubtless there is still room to question whether the president was given sufficient authority for domestic spying on foreign enemies, which is the current point in dispute.  The president's position appears to rest on his inherent Constitution powers rather than on S.J. Res. 23.  And not being a lawyer, I am not suggesting this short piece is a legal brief for the president.

However, reviewing the language actually passed by Congress in September 2001 reconfirms that the president was given broad powers both to respond to past actions and forestall future actions.  S.J. Res. 23 has not been withdrawn; it is Congress' still—active statement on the current situation.  We are at war.  It is useful to remember that, and that Congress has explicitly authorized it.

Greg Richards   1 15 06