Memorandum for Daniel J. Bryant, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs: Re: Specter/Harkin Joint Resolution Calling for Congress to Vote on a Resolution for the Use of Force by the United States Armed Forces Against Iraq [July 23, 2002] [open pdf - 643KB]
"This memorandum sets forth the views of the Office of Legal Counsel on a draft joint resolution recently proposed by Senators Arlen Specter and Tom Harkin, regarding the possible use of force by the U.S. Armed Forces against Iraq. The resolution states that Congress should consider and vote on a resolution authorizing the use of force by the United States before force is used against Iraq. Although the Administration might welcome an expression of Congressional support for any military action the Executive Branch may decide to take against Iraq, such a resolution is unnecessary as a matter of constitutional law. As Chief Executive and Commander in Chief, the President possesses ample authority under the Constitution to direct the use of military force against Iraq, To the extent that the joint resolution suggests that military action against Iraq would be unlawful absent further action by Congress, it relies upon an erroneous interpretation of the Constitution. Moreover, even putting aside any constitutional source of power, statutory authorization for such a military action already exists."
U.S. Dept. of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/