Can Obama already be impeached over Syria?

The question mark in the title implies a genuine question. I would like to hear from commentators about whether an impeachment proceeding could technically (if not actually) succeed based on the state of play today as at 0830.

First, because it may be relevant and because it adds to the mischief, the more certain case that Obama may be about to put himself in an impeachable position. The case is best given by Obama himself and by his Vice President in the Daily Caller:

Vice President Joe Biden, who voted for the Iraq War, agreed with Obama.

“The president has no constitutional authority to take this country to war… unless we’re attacked or unless there is proof that we are about to be attacked,” Biden said in 2007.

Biden, then a Democratic senator from Delaware, suggested presidential war-making was an impeachable offense.

Well, that’s pretty clear. If Obama looses his vote for war in Syria, as Cameron did, but unlike Cameron he proceeds to war, then this would be impeachable, according to his own Vice-President. Interesting.

Just as an aside, the Caller reminds us that Obama did not seek Congress’ approval for Libya, but he appears to have gotten away with that already.

The question I had was over statements like this one:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

That’s right, the President’s oath to protect the constitution. I’ve often wondered what “protecting the constitution” means. I think for it to mean anything it must include protecting a particular interpretation of the words. If Obama is relying on a stretched definition of “self defense” (notably, a word his speech did not include) then he is stretching the constitution, not protecting it. This is what he did say:

I believe I have the authority to carry out this military action without specific congressional authorisation

I accept its probably difficult to actually get support for impeachment, but technically, would a failure to fulfill the oath of the office, by making assertions such as the one above, constitute an impeachable offence? What is the correct procedural recourse of congress, and the people, if a president does stretch the constitution?

One Comment

  1. He certainly has no constitutional authority to launch a war. That has to come from Congress. However, presidents have been disregarding the Constitution ever since it was written. Attorney General Eric Holder would be an easier target for impeachment, I’d say.



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