What U.S. actions in Libya mean for the Constitution

August 25, 2011

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(AP/Alexandre Meneghini)
Rebel fighters flash the victory sign at the debris of the communication center, allegedly bombed by NATO, in Brega, Libya.

As rebels assume more control of Libya, U.S. media coverage seems to be moving away from its initial criticism of the international military effort. But back in June, the House of Representatives voted by a wide margin against authorizing continued military operations in Libya. And the New York Times revealed that President Obama overruled top lawyers in the Justice and Defense departments over whether the 1973 War Powers Resolution applies to the Libya operation. President Obama argued that supporting NATO operations doesn’t amount to war and thus didn’t require congressional authorization.

Today, we look ahead to what this means for the future of U.S. military engagement. Louis Fisher is Scholar-in-Residence at the Constitution Project and author of the book Defending Congress and the Constitution, which is out next month.