I really hope tea-party groups resist taking legal counsel from hysterions such as Fox News’s resident constitutional “expert,” Andrew Napolitano. On Tuesday morning, “the Judge” could be heard on the news railing about the McCain-Levin amendment to the defense-authorization bill (an amendment strongly supported by Senators Lieberman, Graham, Ayotte, and others). Napolitano contended that Congress is proposing to turn the entire globe into a battlefield and give President Obama the authority to have the U.S. armed forces swoop down on American cities and towns, arbitrarily detaining U.S. citizens on the mere say-so that they are enemies of the state. These contentions are absurd.
The only real question about the McCain-Levin amendment is whether it is necessary at all. It does not change existing law in any meaningful way. Essentially, it reaffirms the authority Congress conferred on the commander-in-chief in the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) that was enacted days after the 9/11 attacks.
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