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Judge dismisses congressmen’s lawsuit over Obama administration’s Libya intervention

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Steven Nelson
Associate Editor

On Thursday a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit filed in June by ten members of Congress against the Obama administration’s military intervention in Libya.

The lawsuit alleged that President Obama violated the War Powers Act by failing to seek congressional approval for the military intervention within the 60-day period the law requires.

Judge Reggie Walton ruled the lawmakers do not have standing to challenge the president’s decision to involve the American military in the conflict.

“While there may conceivably be some political benefit in suing the President and the Secretary of Defense, in light of shrinking judicial budgets, scarce judicial resources, and a heavy caseload, the Court finds it frustrating to expend time and effort adjudicating the relitigation of settled questions of law,” Walton ruled.

Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich and North Carolina Republican Rep. Walter Jones released a joint statement Thursday evening about a potential appeal.

“Judge Reggie Walton has refused to address the merits of the constitutional claim of our case,” they wrote. “This lawsuit is not just about checking executive power, but also about securing the right of Members of Congress to defend the constitutionally required balance of power in court. This case can help set an important precedent on both issues.

“We believe that we have cause for a meritorious appeal. We will consult with our colleagues who are a party to the case before making any decision for all participants.”

The eight other plaintiffs are Republican Reps. Howard Coble of North Carolina, John Duncan of Tennessee, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, Ron Paul of Texas, Tim Johnson of Illinois and Dan Burton of Indiana and Democratic Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts.

The Obama administration filed a motion to dismiss the legal challenge in August, arguing that the Supreme Court had previously “flatly rejected the standing of members of Congress to sue in their legislative capacities.”

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who is representing the congressmen, told The Daily Caller that the decision was “disappointing but not unexpected.”

“Notably, the court did not rule on the constitutional questions,” Turley wrote in an email. “Instead, the decision holds that a critical part of the Constitution cannot be effectively enforced in the courts.”

Turley suggested “this issue might have to be resolved by the D.C. Circuit or the Supreme Court. We are now discussing whether to take that next step.”

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