Archive for the ‘Congress’ Category

220px-Bret_Stephens180px-john-yooToday I had my second debate with Berkeley Law Professor and former Bush official John Yoo. The first debate sponsored by Christopher Newport University was held in Newport News four days ago and the second was sponsored by Hillsdale College at a debate held in Washington, D.C. There is a clear theme emerging to get Americans to embrace war as a continuing reality for American policy. Equally notable is how well-connected Republicans are returning over and over to another theme: Rand Paul must be stopped. In his luncheon speech, Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal repeatedly mocked Rand Paul and his opposition to the United States engaging in wars around the globe. It seems that there is a real fear that Paul could gain traction with Republicans in steering the U.S. from an interventionist course. There are many positions of Paul that people of good faith can disagree with. I certainly have such differences with him. However, it is specifically his notion of limited presidential authority and a disinclination toward new wars that is the focus of these attacks.

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fuller-mugshotWe previously discussed the arrest of U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller in Alabama for misdemeanor battery of his wife. Now members are raising the possibility of impeachment if he does not resign despite the absence of a conviction on the misdemeanor. Rep. Martha Roby (R., Alabama) is citing a rather novel source of extraconstitutional precedent: the NFL Ray Rice case.

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250px-Michael_Hayden,_CIA_official_portrait225px-Lindsey_Graham,_official_Senate_photo_portrait,_2006This was beginning to sound too familiar. A president is calling for a new war based on his inherent authority while members of Congress warn that it is war or death for America. However, former NSA director (and my neighbor) Michael Hayden added a new element: explaining that air power is like “casual sex” and that we need greater commitment than the military equivalent to a one night stand. Of course, this one night stand is expected to last months and cost billions. President Obama has already asked for $500 million to just arm Syrian rebels despite the fact that we are now facing our own weaponry in the hands of ISIS (captured from our past supply of rebels and the Iraqi military). Sort of like Warren Zevon’s song to send “Lawyers, Guns, and Money” except we are leaving the lawyers behind on this one.

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210px-flag_of_washington_dcsvgThis afternoon, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs will hold its hearing on whether to accept a new state into the Union: New Columbia. While I was asked if I could testify on S. 132, I will be traveling today to Newport News to Christopher Newport University for a long-planned debate with John Yoo on presidential powers. I have written a long academic publication on the status of the District of Columbia and testified at the prior hearings on allowing for voting representation of District residents. See Jonathan Turley, Too Clever By Half: The Partial Representation of the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives, 76 George Washington University Law Review 305-374 (2008). Since I will not be able to appear, I thought that I would re-run my earlier column on the proposal. Before Congress embraces the path to statehood, it should give the original concerns of the Framers (and some new ones) full consideration. I have long argued that a constitutional amendment is the best way to give residents a vote in Congress. Statehood raises a myriad of difficult issues but regardless of the reform (whether statehood or an amendment simply allowing for a representative in the House of Representatives), this should be a decision that is submitted directly to the American people as a whole. I am troubled (as I was in 2007) by the effort to push this through Congress to avoid such a vote (as well as the cloud of partisan politics that continue to swell around the issue).

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Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

In light of the recently observed 13th anniversary of the events on 9/11/01, I read an article this week that caught my eye.  According to reports, there is a 28 page section of the 9/11 Commission report that has never been released publicly and remains secret to this day.  Indeed, Congressmen must go through numerous security reviews before they can read the document in a secure room in Washington, D.C.

What kind of secret and clandestine information can be found in such a guarded document?  Since it is top-secret, we can only go by the reviews of people who have read the report.  What is found in that report may surprise you in light of its level of secrecy. (more…)

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260px-capitol_building_full_viewOn Monday, the Senate will hold a hearing in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs on entering a new state into the Union: New Columbia. I was asked if I could testify on S. 132 since I have written a long academic publication on the status of the District of Columbia and testified at the prior hearings on allowing for voting representation of District residents. See Jonathan Turley, Too Clever By Half: The Partial Representation of the District of Columbia in the House of Representatives, 76 George Washington University Law Review 305-374 (2008). Unfortunately, the hearing was moved to the afternoon on Monday, which made it impossible because I have to be in Newport News on Monday for a long-planned debate with John Yoo on presidential powers. Accordingly, I had to reluctantly decline. I have great respect and sympathy for those trying to secure a vote for the District residents. I have previously suggested different means to accomplish that end. However, before Congress embraces the path to statehood, it should give the original concerns of the Framers (and some new ones) full consideration.

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President_Barack_Obama220px-B-2_spirit_bombingPresident Obama is again asserting his right to act unilaterally and without congressional approval in going to war. In what has become a mantra for this Administration, Obama reportedly told members of Congress that he does not need congressional approval to unleash a comprehensive military campaign against the Islamic State. The President informed a few members at a dinner — a striking image of how low congressional authority has become in our tripartite system of government.

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