ACLU Applauds Daschle, Byrd for Standing By Constitution; Agrees Congressional Oversight Necessary

March 1, 2002 12:00 am

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Statement of Timothy Edgar,
Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington National Office FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEWASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union applauds Senator Robert Byrd and Majority Leader Thomas Daschle for taking seriously the role that the Constitution assigns to Congress in determining issues of war and peace.

Last year, Congress gave the President authority to respond to the terrorist attacks of September 11 with military force. That resolution did not, and under our Constitution could not, cede the war powers of the Congress to the President.

Congress has the right and the obligation to insist not only on close consultation on the direction of military operations, but make the ultimate decision whether to expand the war on terrorism beyond Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

We are dismayed by the comments of some members of Congress that equate the comments of Senators Byrd and Daschle with providing ‘aid and comfort to the enemy’ and dividing the country. Such comments betray a shocking ignorance of and disdain for our Constitution and are themselves divisive.

Taking the Constitution seriously makes our country stronger, not weaker. Adherence to the War Powers act will help us avoid the mistakes of Vietnam, when the people’s representatives were ignored in decisions to expand the war.

ACLU Letter to Congress on War Powers Act can be found at:

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