by Axios | 5.12.19
The U.S. still backs Saudi Arabia's fight in Yemen, even though Congress voted to end that support. Now, progressive Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) is pushing Democratic leaders to turn to the Supreme Court to help enforce Congress' will.
Why it matters: Congress' resolution seeking to end U.S. involvement in Yemen passed with support from diverse ideological factions — from moderates to Bernie Sanders to Rand Paul, only to meet a veto from President Trump.
That has united a similarly diverse group of law professors, who say Trump usurped Congress' authority over matters of war when he vetoed the resolution and that the House should sue him for it.
"If Nancy Pelosi gets a majority behind her to bring suit, this is a moment of truth for the Supreme Court," said Yale law professor Bruce Ackerman, who's leading the charge on this legal theory.
The response: "We continue to consider all viable options to end this humanitarian crisis," Pelosi's office said.
The big picture: The Constitution gives Congress the power to declare war, and in the wake of Vietnam, Congress spelled out more detailed rules about presidential unilateral power. In Ackerman's view, the Yemen vote is a referendum on whether those rules still apply.
The big question: The Supreme Court has said presidential power is "at its lowest ebb" when exercised in a way that's "incompatible with the ... will of Congress." If the House sues over Trump's Yemen veto, the central question would be whether that's what happened here, said Scott Anderson, a Brookings fellow and former State Department lawyer.
Between the lines: The case is likely a long shot, given the Supreme Court's ideological balance as well as Chief Justice John Roberts' traditional reluctance to get in the middle of disputes between the other two branches.
What's next: If Congress wants to force the U.S. out of Yemen, its best bet might be to keep trying with different legislative vehicles, Anderson said.
Written by Axios
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