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A prominent libertarian constitutional lawyer and civil libertarian has drafted an article of impeachment against President Obama over his attack on Libya, throwing down a legal gauntlet that could be picked up by some Congressional Republicans
Bruce Fein, a former Reagan administration official in the Department of Justice and chairman of American Freedom Agenda writes in his 15-page argument of Obama’s course that “Barack Hussein Obama has mocked the rule of law, endangered the very existence of the Republic and the liberties of the people, and perpetrated an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor.”
Fein is a small-government conservative who worked on the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and also called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, and his work doesn’t represent the Republican Party line. But it comes as some Republicans on the Hill, led by Senator Rand Paul, object vociferously to Obama’s decision to strike targets in Libya without Congressional authorization.
“He’s been more bold than any other president,” said Fein, who said Obama has failed to secure congressional approval for his military action in a much more brazen way than previous administrations.
“If he can wipe out the war powers authorization, why can’t he wipe out Congress’s authority to spend?” asked Fein. ” If we’re going to be a government of laws, and not descend into empire, this is Caesar crossing the Rubicon.”
Fein said a number of Congressional offices have expressed interest in his proposal.
“They actually need to defend constitutional prerogatives,” said Fein. “There’s definitely been interest on the Hill. There’s at least two dozen who have been open to the idea that this is a serious constitutional crisis.”
Fein’s articles of impeachment discuss the run-up to the Libya conflict and conclude, “In all of this, President Barack Obama has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.”
The article of impeachment and three subsections are after the jump.
(with Byron Tau)
ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA
RESOLVED, That Barack Hussein Obama, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following article of impeachment to be exhibited to the Senate:
ARTICLE OF IMPEACHMENT EXHIBITED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN THE NAME OF ITSELF AND OF ALL OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AGAINST BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT OF ITS IMPEACHMENT AGAINST HIM FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS IN USURPING THE EXCLUSIVE PREROGATIVE OF CONGRESS TO COMENCE WAR UNDER ARTICLE 1, SECTION 8, CLAUSE 11 OF THE CONSTITUTION.
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In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has usurped the exclusive power of Congress to initiate war under Article I, section 8, clause 11 of the United States Constitution by unilaterally commencing war against the Republic of Libya on March 19, 2011, declaring that Congress is powerless to constrain his conduct of the war, and claiming authority in the future to commence war unilaterally to advance whatever he ordains is in the national interest. By so doing and declaring, Barack Hussein Obama has mocked the rule of law, endangered the very existence of the Republic and the liberties of the people, and perpetrated an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor as hereinafter elaborated.
THE IMPEACHMENT POWER
1. Article II, Section IV of the United States Constitution provides: “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
2. According to James Madison’s Records of the Convention, 2:550; Madison, 8 Sept., Mr. George Mason objected to an initial proposal to confine impeachable offenses to treason or bribery:
Why is the provision restrained to Treason & bribery only? Treason as defined in the Constitution will not reach many great and dangerous offences. Hastings is not guilty of Treason. Attempts to subvert the Constitution may not be Treason as above defined–As bills of attainder which have saved the British Constitution are forbidden, it is the more necessary to extend: the power of impeachments.
3. Delegates to the Federal Convention voted overwhelmingly to include “high crimes and misdemeanors” in Article II, Section IV of the United States Constitution specifically to ensure that “attempts to subvert the Constitution” would fall within the universe of impeachable offences. Id.
4. Alexander Hamilton, a delegate to the Federal Convention, characterized impeachable offenses in Federalist 65 as, “offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or in other words, from the violation or abuse of some public trust. They are of a nature which with peculiar propriety may be denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done to society itself.”
5. In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted three articles of impeachment against then President Richard M. Nixon for actions “subversive of constitutional government.”
6. Father of the Constitution, James Madison, observed that, “Of all the enemies of public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other…. War is the true nurse of executive aggrandizement.”
7. James Madison also instructed that “no nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
8. The exclusive congressional power to commence war under Article I, section VIII, clause XI of the Constitution is the pillar of the Republic and the greatest constitutional guarantor of individual liberty, transparency, and government frugality.
THE “DECLARE WAR” CLAUSE
9. Article I, Section VIII, Clause XI of the United States Constitution provides: “The Congress shall have the power … To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”
10. Article II, Section II, Clause I of the United States Constitution provides: “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.” Read the rest of this entry »