July 5, 2011
How many times have we heard awestruck references to Barack Obama’s history as a law professor? Many came from the man himself, as when he told a crowd at a 2007 fundraiser, “I was a constitutional law professor, which means unlike the current president, I actually respect the Constitution.”
Does he? At his press conference on June 29, the president was asked whether he thought the War Powers Act — which he has flamboyantly flouted in the case of our armed conflict with Libya — was constitutional. His reply, during which he managed to inject yet another reference to his credential as a law “professor” (he was actually not a professor but a senior lecturer, but never mind), expressed the most flippant disregard for law that we’ve heard from an American president since Richard Nixon jousted with David Frost.
“Let me focus on, initially, the issue of Libya. I want to talk about the substance of Libya, because there’s been all kinds of noise about process and congressional consultation and so forth.”
What the president dismisses as “noise” are the words of a valid U.S. law, the War Powers Resolution. Some presidents have thought it unwise. Some believed it to be unconstitutional. That is the case with many laws. It doesn’t permit presidents, or anyone else, to disregard them.
This article was posted: Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 3:48 am