PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As no-fly zone operations continue in Libya, critics say President Obama should have consulted more with Congress before committing U.S. troops to the campaign.
Now a local expert is weighing in on the debate. Ken Gormley is dean of Duquesne University’s law school.
“These types of decisions have been made by these presidents time and time again in this country,” he said.
Gormley is a constitutional scholar and says Congress and the Executive often battle over military action overseas.
“There has been this tension between Congress and the President, but generally when it comes to committing troops — because these are fast moving situations, decisions have to be made quickly — it has been presidents making this decision, not the Congress,” he explained.
Article II of the Constitution does make the president Commander in Chief, but article I gives only Congress the power to declare war.
The last official war declaration was World War II 70 years ago.
“Unless you have a circumstance like Pearl Harbor or something like that, it is unlikely that these types of decisions are going to be made that swiftly,” Gormley said.
That means the Commander in Chief can send troops anywhere until Congress cuts off funding for the mission.
“That’s where they can eventually trump the president if he commits troops in a way they believe is a mistake,” Gormley said.