@ACLU: Back #SandersLeeYemen #SJRes54 to End Unconstitutional Saudi-Yemen War
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SJRes 54, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders [D-VT] and Senator Mike Lee [R-UT], invokes the War Powers Resolution to force a debate and vote on ending unauthorized and unconstitutional U.S. participation in the catastrophic Saudi war and blockade in Yemen, which has pushed millions of human beings to the brink of famine and has created the worst cholera outbreak in history. ACLU support for the Sanders-Lee resolution could be crucial for passing the Sanders-Lee resolution and ending the unconstitutional, catastrophic war. In Congress, the ACLU is like the AFL-CIO of defending the Constitution. It carries a lot of weight, especially with Democrats.
The ACLU agrees with Senator Sanders and Senator Lee that the war is unconstitutional and unauthorized and must end. But the ACLU objects to the fact that the Sanders-Lee resolution stipulates that it does not apply to U.S. hostilities against Al Qaeda and associated forces. As a practical political matter, this stipulation is absolutely necessary for the Sanders-Lee resolution to have any chance of passing Congress; the Khanna-Massie-Pocan-Jones bill in the House, H Con Res 81, has the same stipulation. The ACLU position effectively holds the only means available to us in Congress now for ending the Saudi war in Yemen hostage to a dispute about the scope about the 2001 AUMF, which is an entirely separate issue. The ACLU is not supporting the Sanders-Lee resolution because the ACLU claims that the Sanders-Lee resolution would "implicitly authorize' the use of force against Al Qaeda.
But the ACLU's position is unnecessary; the Sanders-Lee bill is innocent of the ACLU's allegation. Under the War Powers Resolution, there is no such thing as an "implicit authorization" for the use of military force; a key purpose of the War Powers Resolution was and remains to insist and re-affirm that to be constitutional, any Congressional authorization of force must be explicit. If the United States has not been attacked, Section 2c of the WPR says that there are only two ways that Congress can authorize force: either by "a declaration of war" or by "specific statutory authorization." And Section 8a1 requires that a "specific statutory authorization" must state "that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of" the War Powers Resolution - exactly as the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs do. The Sanders-Lee resolution does not state that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization for the authorization of force within the meaning of the WPR, and therefore the Sanders-Lee resolution is not an authorization for the use of force under the WPR.
When we were little, we played a game called "Simon Says." The Leader says, "Simon says, 'Put your hand on your head.'" You put your hand on your head. The Leader says, "Simon says, 'Cross your arms.'" You cross your arms. The Leader says, "Fall down." You stay standing. Because the Leader didn't say "Simon says."
Section 8a1 is the "Simon Says" clause of the War Powers Resolution. Section 8a1 requires that if Congress wants to authorize the use of force, it has to say "Simon says." It has to say that it is intending to specifically authorize the use of force within the meaning of the War Powers Resolution. The Sanders-Lee resolution doesn't say "Simon Says." It doesn't say that it is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization for the use of forces within the meaning of the War Powers Resolution. And therefore, the Sanders-Lee resolution is not an authorization for the use of force.
We have to do triage here. In order to rescue the Yemeni children from the burning building, we have to leave the "cat" of the ACLU's unnecessary and untrue allegation against the Sanders-Lee bill behind.
Urge the ACLU to drop its unnecessary objection and to support the passage of the Sanders-Lee bill to end the unconstitutional, catastrophic Saudi war in Yemen by signing our petition.
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