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Democrats Have a Unique Constitutional Duty to Check, Balance the President

By       Message John Nichols       (Page 2 of 2 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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This is a principle well understood by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the California Democrat who cast the only vote against the overly broad 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force act that continues to be read as justifiction for an ill-defined and apparently endless "war on terror."

Congresswoman Lee, one of the first backers of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign and a key player in writing the 2012 Democratic Party platform, is very loyal to the president. But she is also loyal to the Constitution.

Lee argues in a letter published Sunday in the Los Angeles Times...

"The recently leaked Justice Department memo that outlined the overly broad and vague legal boundaries used to justify drone strikes should shake the American people to the core. While I applaud President Obama for releasing more information to the Senate and House intelligence committees, the root of the problem remains: The administration is using the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by the House on Sept. 14, 2001, as one of the justifications for the lethal use of drones. As the only member of Congress who voted against this blank check, I believe now more than ever that we must repeal it.

"We need a full debate of the consequences of the September 2001 action, and meaningful oversight by Congress is vital. As commander in chief, it is Obama's duty to keep our country safe, but Congress must not retreat from its constitutional obligation of oversight. These checks and balances are the foundation of our democracy, and they must stay intact."

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Along with Ron Wyden and John Conyers, Barbara Lee is striking the proper balance for all members of Congress, but especially for Democrats.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

Nichols writes about (more...)
 

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