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Constitutional Litigation Clinic Opposes Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit Challenging Iraq War

December 01, 2008 – 

The Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers School of Law–Newark filed today in the Federal District Court in Newark its brief in opposition to President Bush’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the War in Iraq. Barring change, the motion will be argued before Judge Jose Linares on Monday, December 15.

The essence of the clinic’s case is that the President’s order to invade the sovereign nation of Iraq in the spring of 2003 violated Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution, which provides that only Congress can declare such a war.

The Plaintiffs in the case are New Jersey Peace Action, two mothers with sons who have fought in Iraq, and William Joseph Wheeler, an Iraq War veteran who is subject to recall until next spring. Bennet Zurofsky, general counsel of New Jersey Peace Action, is co-counsel for Plaintiffs along with Professor Frank Askin and the Rutgers Constitutional Litigation Clinic.

The Plaintiffs’ 60-page brief recites in great detail the annals of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to demonstrate that the nation’s founders were adamantly opposed to giving the Executive the power to launch an all-out war without a Congressional Declaration. The brief cites the words of Thomas Jefferson, who was in Paris during the summer of 1787, hailing the Convention’s decision to deny the President war-making power as having “chained the Dog of War.”

The brief also argues that Congressional funding of military action in the wake of a presidentially launched war is not equivalent to a Declaration of War, which would require every member of Congress to go on record in support or opposition and would not allow members of Congress to later deny responsibility for a war gone bad.

See also Iraq War Veteran Joins Lawsuit and Clinic Files Lawsuit Against President Bush Over Iraq War