10 Congressmen And A Law Professor Just Sued To Stop The War In Libya

Ron Paul

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley and a handful of students filed a legal challenge today on behalf of 10 members of Congress protesting America’s involvement in Libya.

According to a press release today, Turley filed the litigation  on behalf of:

  • John Conyers, Jr (D., Mich)
  • Dan Burton (R., Ind.)
  • Mike Capuano (D., Mass.)
  • Howard Coble, (R., N.C.)
  • John Conyers, (D. Mich.)
  • John J. Duncan (R., Tenn.)
  • Tim Johnson (R., Ill.)
  • Walter Jones (R., N.C.)
  • Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio)
  • Ron Paul (R. Tex.)

The bi-partisan group are basing their argument on the War Powers Act of 1973 which states the president may not send troops into combat for more than 90 days total, without the express consent of Congress.

Hurley has handled many high-profile cases including the representation of five former Attorneys General.

The full press release is below:


WASHINGTON, DC— Today at the U.S. Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, Professor Jonathan Turley and a George Washington student litigation team will file a historic challenge to the Libyan War on behalf of 10 members of Congress.  These members include Democrats and Republicans from across the political spectrum.  They share a belief that Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution expressly requires the authorization of Congress before a president can commit the nation to war.  This challenge goes beyond Libya and challenges the claim by the Administration that the President has the inherent authority to order combat operations without the approval or declaration of Congress.

The Plaintiffs in this action include the second-longest standing member of Congress, John Conyers, Jr. (D., Mich), as well as leaders from both parties.  The members are Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (R., Md); Dan Burton (R., Ind.); Mike Capuano (D., Mass.); Howard Coble (R., N.C.); John Conyers (D., Mich.); John J. Duncan (R., Tenn.); Tim Johnson (R., Ill.); Walter Jones (R., N.C.); Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio); and Ron Paul (R., Tx).

“We are deeply honored to represent these courageous members of Congress in their defence of important constitutional limitations on executive power,” said Professor Turley.  While there are many uncertain questions under the Constitution, this is not one of them. The Framers spoke repeatedly and forcibly of their desire to bar presidents from committing the nation to war without congressional authorization and inserted an express limitation into Article I.  The last few years have vividly demonstrated the dangers that the Framers sought to avoid in dividing the war powers between the Executive and Legislative branches.  Despite their sharp ideological differences, these members are bond by deep faith in the Constitution and a sense of responsibility in defending its provisions.  We shall their concerns and are eager to advance their claims in the Judicial Branch in this lawsuit.”

This is an action for injunctive and declaratory relief.  In addition to challenging the circumvention of express constitutional language, it will also challenge arguments that no one (including members of Congress) has “standing” to submit this question to judicial review.  These members will ask the federal district court for review of the constitutional question and for recognition that the Constitution must allow for judicial review of claims of undeclared wars under Article I.

Professor Turley has handled a variety of high-profile cases, including, but not limited to, his representation of five former Attorneys General during the Clinton Impeachment, his successful challenge of the Elizabeth Morgan Act (the first law struck down as a bill of attainder in decades), and his recent representation of Judge Thomas Porteous in his impeachment trial before the United States Senate this year.  He is a frequent witness before Congress.  His biography can be found at http://jonathanturley.org/about/.   

Professor Turley is being assisted in this case by a team including Jodie Cheng, David Fox, Kyle Noonan, Eric Sidler, and Geoff Turley (no relation to Professor Turley).

Professor Turley can be reached through his assistant Ashley Klearman at 202-994-0537 or on his direct line at 202-994-7001 or by email at [email protected].  For more information, please contact Claire Duggan at (202) 431-9135; [email protected]

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