ACLU Comment on Introduction of Merkley AUMF

May 23, 2018 5:45 pm

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) introduced today an Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution.

Christopher Anders, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office, said:

“Senator Jeff. Merkley has introduced a sharply focused Authorization for Use of Military Force, essentially a modern-day declaration of war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, and ISIS in Iraq. This legislation and debate are long overdue because we are now on our third president deciding on his own why and where to take the country into war, and against whom. The Constitution gives the power to declare war to Congress alone, and Congress must exercise that authority in a way that is consistent with constitutional checks and balances.

“The hallmark of a war authorization that is consistent with the Constitution is specificity in defining why and where the United States will go to war, and against whom. The Merkley AUMF meets this standard.

“To be clear, the ACLU does not take a position on whether military force should be used against the groups listed in the Merkley AUMF, but we have insisted for more than a half-century that the United States must not go to war without advance congressional authorization that is consistent with the Constitution. In contrast to the extraordinarily dangerous and unconstitutional proposed AUMF introduced earlier this year by Senators Bob Corker and Timothy Kaine, Senator Merkley has introduced an AUMF that reflects a deep awareness of both the framework of the Constitution and the gravity of the decision to go to war.”

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