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The Obama administration’s intervention in Libya to aid rebels seeking to oust strongman Muammar Gaddafi has, since its inception, had critics on the anti-war Democratic left, but also on the right, where some GOP lawmakers are skeptical of what they say is a violation of the War Powers Resolution, the 1973 law intended in the wake of Vietnam to limit the president’s ability to involve the U.S. military on foreign soil for an extended basis.

Unable to block the president legislatively, they are now seeking an injunction from the courts:

The lead plaintiffs, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., filed the lawsuit at U.S. District Court in Washington on Wednesday afternoon, as the White House prepared to deliver a report to Congress to address a June 3 House resolution calling for Obama to answer what his ultimate goals are in Libya and why he hadn’t sought congressional authorization for U.S. troop involvement.

In addition to Kucinich and Jones, the plaintiffs are Democratic Reps. Michael Capuano of Massachusetts and John Conyers of Michigan; and Republican Reps. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Dan Burton of Indiana, Howard Coble of North Carolina, John Duncan of Tennessee, Tim Johnson of Illinois, and Ron Paul of Texas.

This comes in the wake of Republican Speaker John Boehner’s call for a legal explanation of the administration’s continued military presence in Libya after the 60 or 90 day period prescribed by the War Powers Resolution. Of course, Mr. Boehner voted to repeal the law in 1995, arguing it infringed on executive authority. His insistence on the president justifying his actions now is probably indicative of the Tea Party movement and its relatively isolationist views gaining steam in the GOP.

In defense of the ongoing action in Libya, Obama administration lawyers told Congress today that since U.S. forces are not engaging directly and individually in hostilities, but rather are providing logistical and other support to a NATO operation, the Resolution does not apply. [National Journal] [The New York Times]


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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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