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In Unanimous Vote, House Says No Legal Right to Attack Iran

By       Message Marjorie Cohn       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   9 comments

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From youtube.com: Rep. Keith Ellison {MID-296218}
Rep. Keith Ellison
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In a little noticed but potentially monumental development, the House of Representatives voted unanimously for an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 5515) that says no statute authorizes the use of military force against Iran.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), states, "It is the sense of Congress that the use of the Armed Forces against Iran is not authorized by this Act or any other Act."

A bipartisan majority of the House adopted the National Defense Authorization Act on May 24, with a vote of 351-66. The bill now moves to the Senate.

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If the Senate version ultimately includes the Ellison amendment as well, Congress would send a clear message to Donald Trump that he has no statutory authority to militarily attack Iran.

This becomes particularly significant in light of Trump's May 8 withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. That withdrawal was followed by a long list of demands by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, which could set the stage for a US attack on Iran.

Co-sponsors of the Ellison amendment include Reps. Barbara Lee (D-California), Ro Khanna (D-California), Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) and Walter Jones (R-North Carolina).

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"The unanimous passage of this bipartisan amendment is a strong and timely counter to the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Iran deal and its increasingly hostile rhetoric," Ellison said in a press release. "This amendment sends a powerful message that the American people and Members of Congress do not want a war with Iran. Today, Congress acted to reclaim its authority over the use of military force."

Likewise, Khanna stated, "The War Powers Act and Constitution is clear that our country's military action must first always be authorized by Congress. A war with Iran would be unconstitutional and costly."

McGovern concurred, stating, "Congress is sending a clear message that President Trump does not have the authority to go to war with Iran. With President Trump's reckless violation of the Iran Deal and failure to get Congressional approval for military strikes on Syria, there's never been a more important time for Congress to reassert its authority. It's long past time to end the White House's blank check and the passage of this amendment is a strong start."

Moreover, the Constitution only grants Congress the power to declare war. And the War Powers Resolution allows the president to introduce US Armed Forces into hostilities or imminent hostilities only after Congress has declared war, or in "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces," or when there is "specific statutory authorization."

But even if the Ellison amendment survives the Senate and becomes part of the National Defense Authorization Act, Trump would likely violate it. He could target Iranian individuals as "suspected terrorists" on his global battlefield and/or attack them in Iran with military force under his new targeted killing rules.

Unilateral Sanctions Against Iran Are Illegal

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Although the Ellison amendment states that no statute authorizes the use of US armed forces in Iran, it does not prohibit the expenditure of money to attack Iran. Nor does it proscribe the use of sanctions against Iran.

In fact, other amendments the House adopted mandate the imposition of sanctions against Iran.

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Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, and deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers. An updated edition of her book, "Drones and (more...)
 

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911TRUTH

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In Unanimous Vote, House Says No Legal Right to Attack Iran



That's until the monsters who really pulled off 9/11 decide to do 9/11 v2.0 and blame it on Iran.


And once again, the vast majority will fall for it, hook, line and sinker. It would be like taking candy from a baby.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2018 at 5:26:59 PM

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" ... like taking candy from a baby." Yes.

" ... the vast majority will fall for it, hook, line and sinker." That is how false flags work and it is so simple, like taking candy from a baby.

"Problem, Reaction, Solution." They want something that the people will not go for. So they create a problem like a 9/11, get the expected reaction, then implement the solution they wanted in the first place. The people will fall for it, hook, line and sinker. Pretty damn easy. Its been done throughout history.

I think it is going to be a nuke going off in a U.S. city. The people will beg for protection.

9/11 v2.0 in the words of GW Bush will make 9/11 v1.0 "pale by comparison."

911TRUTH i would guess you are right. They will probably blame it on Iran. If so, that unanimous house vote ain't gonna mean anything.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2018 at 8:48:46 PM

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Devil's Advocate

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"...no statute authorizes the use of military force against Iran."

Does this amendment only pertain to Iran?! If so, why isn't the power to declare war simply being "returned" to Congress?

Why are even the "victories" in these matters so questionable? Everything is so convoluted. Isn't it about time the NDAA should be killed?

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2018 at 7:22:55 PM

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lila york

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Right. where is the prohibition against waging war against Syria - another country that is no threat to national security and has never attacked another country.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2018 at 9:52:03 PM

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Exactly! The way these acts are dealt out and the way they're supposedly "reformed" is so disingenuous it should be seen as an insult to everyone's intelligence.

It's quite obvious there isn't really any desire to dial anything back. These little pieces of theater just serve to keep people thinking their government actually has a conscience at work.

Submitted on Tuesday, Jun 5, 2018 at 11:53:30 PM

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Meredith Ramsay

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Keith Ellison is the author of this amendment. I agree that it should not be limited to Iran. Does Ellison not have a conscience? Or could it be that with Molten Bolton calling the shots, Ellison thought something had to be done quickly, so he authored an amendment that he hoped would stand a snowball's chance in hell of being passed.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018 at 4:15:52 AM

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That illustrates precisely what I'm getting at.

Things have gotten so convoluted that Ellison wouldn't dare propose anything more serious, as he knows it would automatically be trashed.

Congress should never have allowed the power to transfer to the Administration's hands in the first place. Now, there isn't much of a chance that power will be given up any time soon.

These acts, such as the PATRIOT and the NDAA, get passed - fully packed with all sorts of goodies - practically overnight with little resistance, yet scaling them back in any meaningful way seems to require nothing short of a miracle.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018 at 5:55:20 AM

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Yes, Congress abdicated its co-equal authority and oversight responsibility almost 16 years ago when it conceded to George Bush's every demand following 9/11. Then, when Obama became president, Congress's only agenda was to deny the president any success for the next eight years. Now, with the Trump Crime Family in power, members have become so craven that no Republican has the backbone to stand up to him.

Mr. Ellison knew he was swimming against the tide. Perhaps he adhere's to Vaclav Havel's dictum that hope is not based in the belief that things will turn out well; hope is a dimension of the soul, a belief that a thing is worth doing because it is right, regardless of how it turns out. (Vaclav Havel, Disturbing the Peace, Vintage, New York 1991)

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018 at 4:38:02 PM

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Congress has not revoked their "absolute power" #ImperialPresidency - their #AUMF2001, Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, are "alive and well" in the "Halls of Congress" and in the hands of Trump.

Ellison's amendment may become merely "wishful thinking" as Congress may authorize a new "proposed 2018 AUMF"- Trump's "absolute power" would be confirmed (Bush's AUMF2001 - "a fraudulent justification for a war of aggression" - Article II) by Congress and he can totally destroy Syria and Iran, if he has a "whim" to, thereby fragmenting totally the #MiddleEast at #Netanyahu's pleasure, of course.

Russia and China, with ties to Syria and Iran, might not simply "blink an eye" as another American President Trump and "regime change" once again "comes into play" - nuclear forces on"all sides of the battlefield" may be called upon "to prove the point" - there will be no winners this time #endthefed #investigate911 #IssueMurderIndictment.

Submitted on Wednesday, Jun 6, 2018 at 3:27:53 PM

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