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Posts Tagged ‘constitution’

How to end the war on terrorism properly

June 10th, 2013


Note: This piece was co-written with Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute.

In his speech on counterterrorism last month, President Barack Obama said something both profound and overdue – the war underway since 2001 should end, not just factually but also legally. Outlining his views, the president said he wanted to “refine, and ultimately repeal,” the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), the main legislative vehicle governing U.S. counterterrorism operations around the world. He also pledged not to sign laws designed to expand this mandate further.

But to make that goal a concrete reality, the president should have called for legislation repealing the administration’s authority for war – sunsetting the AUMF, which provides the legal authorization for our troops in Afghanistan, once combat operations there conclude at the end of 2014. Future counterterrorism operations can rely on the plentiful authorities the executive branch already has, including some that have been added since 9/11. And if this president – or any other in the future – needs greater war powers to deal with a threat, they can return to Congress and ask for specific, limited authorities tailored to address the future challenge.

The fact is that while there are other ways the AUMF could be usefully altered, a clean repeal has significant advantages. Read the rest of this entry »

John Roberts’s verdict? Health care is not a right

July 3rd, 2012


This piece was originally posted on Politico.

“The mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his health care ruling last week. It’s not? Really? It sure sounds like it. No, Roberts insisted, “It makes going without insurance just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning income.”

With that bit of sophistry, the Supreme Court upheld the health care law and refrained from throwing some 50 million Americans off health insurance. Democrats are thrilled. They don’t really care how the Court got there as long as the court got there.

But it does make a difference how it got there. Because what the Court did was deny that health care is a right. In the Court’s view, the right to health care has no constitutionally protected status like abortion rights or gun rights. It’s just a benefit. Rights can’t be taken away. Benefits can. Read the rest of this entry »

“Why Sputnik?”

January 27th, 2011


“This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” President Obama declared in his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening. Interesting metaphor. I was around for the launching of Sputnik in 1957. He wasn’t. Sputnik created a huge wave of shock and paranoia in the United States. The Soviets were beating us! We were losing the Space Race! And maybe the Cold War.

Read the rest of this entry »