Dems will introduce legislation to bar Trump from pre-emptive strike on North Korea

Connecticut senator Chris Murphy, along with two other Democratic senators, will introduce a bill preventing President Trump from launching a pre-emptive strike on North Korea without congressional consent.

Murphy has been trying to restrict the war-making powers of the executive for years, so this is nothing new.  He also sought to limit the power of President Obama to go to war in the Middle East.

In a series of tweets, Murphy outlined his reasoning.

Trump's North Korea threats are real. I will intro bill w @brianschatz & @CoryBooker to prohibit any preemptive action w/o vote by Congress.

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 26, 2017

My bill w @brianschatz & @CoryBooker makes clear that any unauthorized preemptive strike on N Korea - nuclear or conventional - is illegal.

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 26, 2017

Mistake by Trump could kill hundreds of thousands on Korean Peninsula. My bill w @brianschatz @CoryBooker will clarify Trump's war powers.

— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) October 26, 2017

Murphy's proposed legislation is of dubious legality.  A president's constitutional authority as commander in chief to defend the country is necessarily broad, and restricting it would have a difficult time passing muster with the Supreme Court.

The War Powers Resolution of 1973 actually gives the president the authority to carry out attacks like those contemplated on North Korea as long as U.S. forces are not engaged for more than 60 days.  Since it is unlikely that the president contemplates an invasion, the issue is probably moot.

The bill by Murphy is congressional grandstanding, not serious legislation.  I daresay that any strike on North Korea would have the overwhelming support of Congress and the American people anyway, so the constituency to which Murphy is playing is small.

You would hope that if we do strike North Korea, Kim's response will be limited.  Otherwise, a war on the Korean peninsula could fulfill Murphy's prediction of hundreds of thousands killed.  But the threat from this unstable leader is real and must be dealt with soon, or the U.S. mainland will be vulnerable to attack.

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