Constitutional legal scholar weighs in on executive power issue
Published on June 22, 2011
by Brent Baldwin
WASHINGTON, D.C. (USA)
OfficialWire PR News Bureau
Former White House lawyer David B. Rivkin, Jr. is often asked to explain the actions of presidents in constitutional terms.
On June 20, 2011, he appeared as a guest on the Laura Ingraham radio show to discuss the whether President Obama had exceeded his authority in the Libyan operation by not seeking congressional approval.
Rivkin noted that the War Powers Act of 1973 had been deemed unconstitutional by presidents from both parties, so while Obama had the right not to comply with the act, that did not excuse his handling of the controversial situation.
“It’s a badly executed war. The president has failed to provide any compelling justification to American people or Congress,” Rivkin said, agreeing with the host. “This administration’s view is that the War Powers Resolution does not apply because what’s happening in Libya is not ‘hostilities.’ That’s absurd.”
Rivkin noted that it “pained him” to defend the President, who “even when’s he doing the right thing, as far as the constitutional realities are concerned, cannot bring himself to articulate it in a forthright manner and resorts to semantic games.”
Rivkin said he had to support Obama’s power exercise out of his own respect for the Constitution. “It’s very difficult to defend this administration. These arguments [on Libya], that it’s not hostilities, that our goal is to not unseat Gaddafi are just absurd,” Rivkin said. “As a matter of international law, does anybody believe what is happening in Libya now is not armed conflict?
A frequent contributor to The Wall Street Journal, Rivkin was recently awarded the prestigious 2011 Burton Award for Legal Achievement for his writing in The Washington Post.