By Rich Lowry
Somewhere, Richard Nixon is smiling. In 1973, he vetoed the War Powers Act, insisting that it was unconstitutional. Congress overrode him, but almost every one of Nixon’s successors has agreed with his assessment of the resolution.
It took Pres. Barack Obama, though, to rip the War Powers Act into little pieces and sprinkle it over his Libyan intervention like the confetti in a premature victory parade.
The thrust of the War Powers Act is clear enough: Sixty days after reporting the start of a military intervention, the president must secure congressional authorization or a declaration of war, or remove our forces. Presidents have typically acted “consistent with,” but not “pursuant to,” the law’s provisions — basically, humoring Congress while never conceding the law’s constitutional legitimacy.