‘libyan legal limbo’

Eric Posner and Adrian Vermeule (Slate): President Obama’s decision to ignore the Office of Legal Counsel’s advice about Libya has shocked and worried critics on the left and right. Yet the decision emerged from what was essentially a bureaucratic conflict – the State Department and the White House Counsel’s Office said the U.S. military intervention in Libya was permissible under the War Powers Resolution, OLC and the Department of Defense disagreed – and the uninitiated may be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. Isn’t choosing among the views of his advisers what the president is supposed to do?

The president’s critics say that in important legal matters, it’s the job of OLC (which is part of the Justice Department) to weigh the competing views and issue an opinion that presidents are presumptively bound to respect ….  there is no reason that the president – the sole officer of government constitutionally required to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” – should be bound, even presumptively, by the legal views of those who are, after all, merely his servants.

… suppose that OLC does provide independent legal advice. There is nothing objectionable about a presidential decision to adopt the views of one set of legal advisers over those of another. The procedure the White House followed – hearing from legal advisers in four offices, with diverse expertise and perspectives – seems a sensible approach to decision-making. Interpreting the War Powers Resolution is not like reading a speed limit sign; the statute is riddled with ambiguities….

… A president need not have or consult any legal advisers at all ….  It is mysterious why it is controversial that a president should get to decide which, if any, of his own creatures he will deign to hear. OLC exists to serve the presidency, not the other way around.

Full article here

20 Responses to “‘libyan legal limbo’”

  1. 1 Fred
    June 28, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Loons on both the Left and the Right keep forgetting that the man IS a Constitutional Law professor 🙄

    Mitt Romney: ‘Obama Will Cost This Company Jobs,’ Company: ‘NO, He WON’T’ 😆
    Mitt Romney took a dig at President Obama for visiting an Alcoa plant in Iowa, saying the White House’s labor appointees will soon force them to lay off workers.

    Alcoa’s plant makes parts for the Dreamliner, a Boeing plane that is currently the subject of a legal battle between the company and the National Labor Review Board, an independent agency whose members are appointed by the White House. The NLRB recently sided with unions in Washington State who claim that a new manufacturing line for the plane in South Carolina is illegal retaliation against them for previous strikes.

    “This Boeing decision in South Carolina sent shockwaves across the nation and, if allowed to stand, will result in American job losses and I think you can be sure there will be some losses in Iowa as well as other states,” Romney said in an AP interview on Monday.

    Only one problem: Alcoa told the AP their plant’s workforce is just fine:

    Alcoa spokesman Mike Belwood said the labor board’s battle with Boeing over the South Carolina plant will not have an impact on employment at Alcoa’s eastern Iowa plants, which produce aluminum lithium plate used to make structural components of the Dreamliner.

    To be fair, Romney and other GOP candidates have said the Boeing case could generally affect jobs in states like South Carolina with “right to work” laws that restrict union activity, of which Iowa is one. That notion is heavily disputed by the NLRB itself and other observers who see the current legal fight as an isolated incident. But in the context of the interview, Romney is clearly singling out Alcoa for its direct connection to Boeing.


  2. 5 africa
    June 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Company tells Romeny to take his lies elsewhere about it losing jobs under PBO. Go figure..

    Mitt Romney: ‘Obama Will Cost This Company Jobs,’ Company: ‘No, He Won’t’

    ….”Only one problem: Alcoa told the AP their plant’s workforce is just fine:

    Alcoa spokesman Mike Belwood said the labor board’s battle with Boeing over the South Carolina plant will not have an impact on employment at Alcoa’s eastern Iowa plants, which produce aluminum lithium plate used to make structural components of the Dreamliner…..


  3. June 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    A commenter on Balloon Juice made a great point the other day when he pointed out that the same OLC concluded that the DC voting rights bill was unconstitutional. He than asked, ‘since the Left is saying that the OLC is the last word, should Obama listen to the OLC on DC voting rights?’ No one in the thread answered him but I know the answer. The left would have a fit if Obama used the OLC’s opinion to veto a DC Voting rights bill. Only when its something they want, does the left approve of bending the rules or going over an authority’s head.

  4. 7 Bobfr
    June 28, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    A little context of the significance of President Obama’s Legal, and, oh by the way exceptionally humanitarian, response (repost from late yesterday evening):

    For those interested in the pursuit of freedom by the people of Libya:

    dragonlance writes at: http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/interactive/2011/06/201161962512617429.html#comment-236404905

    “Daffis picture now on wanted pages.
    Being fitted for new stripped clothes.
    Siafs neck size interests more.
    In the east a city of walking dead.
    Their choise.
    Uglies work through the night.
    Eastern army moves on several fronts beyond the medias eyes.
    Two armies join hand in hand as reach across the desert sands.
    Lions extend the hunting grounds and a city decides in fear.
    Before the waning light of coming day a battalion will fail.
    Gold cannot move on camels feet. Daffi looses more this day.
    Berbers feed three armies now and ill winds from the west.
    A new unseen army moves to strengthen coastal ways.
    Too many little boats there are but ground is found for them.
    Many flee the wrath to come.
    A circle now complete and chess game near the end.
    More weapons arrive at night in ally ways of freedom.
    Daffi your clan betrays you now to save their horrible skin.
    Security most will run soon. And then who will answer your call
    All who do will die.
    Pretty boy in hotel is of interest to some.
    Assines come and in numbers.
    Mountain corridors flow strong. Many arms from many places. Medicine and food too.
    A very special dragon assigned now to those on wanted poster.
    Fear the light Daffi. Fear the light.
    Before the light breaks into day what do the the old ways bring.
    Scouts and hunters far closer then you realize.
    Mercs who flee do not make it to border.
    New tribe now hunts.
    No longer friends have your gold.
    Now nowhere to flee.”

    BTW, without President Obama’s courageous support of the people of
    Libya, none of the above would have been possible and 10s of thousands
    of Libyans would be buried in mass graves, if buried at all.

    And, the world would have not known.

    And, one of the world’s deadliest terrorists would still be at it.
    Never forget, long before OBL this Daffi dude was doing things like – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_Flight_103

    Never Forget.

    What is actually happening in Libya, hour by hour, over the past
    several months, bears no resemblance to the bs that you read in the
    corporate media – US and international.

    The people of Libya are achieving their own freedom and democracy in a
    way that very, very few societies have accomplished. When immersed in
    the details, it is the modern day equivalent of what it would have been
    like to have been ‘live blogging’ the American Revolution – no joke,
    zero hyperbole.

    Had our President not acted decisively their struggle would have been much harder if not impossible. Now, they are poised for victory and ‘stalemate’ exists only in the minds of newstainers (aka journalists).

    Yes.We.Can. … DO.More.Together!

  5. June 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Like how PBO makes the point about how people need to focus on Congress and them blocking his efforts.

    • 17 HZ
      June 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm

      Thanks proudofobama and Tulips for the links. Great questions and great answers. I like the part about not making symbolic jesters, but rather he is there to lead the country. I also like how Mr. Madison was polite and allowed the President to finish his answers.

      • 18 theo67
        June 28, 2011 at 1:55 pm

        We have to tweet and email Joe Madison to thank him for a respectful interview. Focus on the stuff we want to see more of.

  6. 19 HZ
    June 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Another victory this morning in Senate. James Cole vote in for Deputy Attorney General/vote/55/42. The President will be notified officially today.

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