Americans Argue Over Classic Constitution Issue

Congressmen sue Bush. Bush is not afraid to go to trial

The relations between the White House and the Capitol Hill are rather complicated and diverse. As a matter of fact, there is nothing surprising about that, especially when the majority of the parliament is in the opposition to the president. Although, the incumbent US Congress and Senate can not be considered an opposition. Yet, the American president has to deal with certain problems anyway.

At present moment, these problems are connected with Iraq, which is a sure thing to happen. As RIA Novosti reported, six democratic congressmen, as well as a group of relatives of American military men, filed a class action lawsuit against American President George W. Bush and against US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Senior American officials were accused of violating the American Constitution and of making illegal attempts to declare war on Iraq. The lawsuit was filed on Thursday at Boston federal court.

Accusing Bush and Rumsfeld of military preparations, the claimants assert that the president and the head of the Pentagon act against the US Constitution. Paragraph Eight of the American Constitution says that only the American Congress is entitled to declare war on a foreign country. Congressman John Conyers of Michigan, one of the claimants, stated that the US Congress resolution of October 2002 was not the official declaration of war on Iraq. That is why, as Conyers believes, the actions of the American president and his defense secretary are illegitimate.

As a matter of fact, it is not the first time, when American congressmen attempt to sue the president. US Congressman Dennis Kucinich also filed a lawsuit against the American president in the summer of the last year. As Kucinich claimed, George W. Bush did not have a right to denounce the ABM Treaty. As the congressman said, it was the prerogative of the Congress, not of the president. As we can see, the story repeats at present moment, although the previous suit did not bring any good. The USA pulled out from the ABM Treaty single-handedly, and Kucinich became a laughing-stock, taking into consideration the fact that he was known for his eccentricity.

The problem is a lot more serious than it may seem at first sight. The dispute regarding the function of the American Congress in the political system of the United States has been going on for several months already. Who is more important – congressmen or the president, to put it short. The answer to this question seems to be obvious, for it is written so in the American Constitution. However, it just so happens that all important issues, including foreign policy issues, are solved by the president and his administration. The House of Representatives is only left to agree upon that, taking into consideration the fact that the Republicans enjoy the majority. This is what they call the unification of the American nation in front of the terrorism threat. Unification is important, although the Congress reduces its role, supporting the war on Iraq.

The fate of the latest lawsuit against President Bush is rather predictable. The story will have the very same ending, exactly like it happened to Kucinich’s suit. By the way, 54 congressmen filed a lawsuit against incumbent American president’s father at the end of 1990, before the start of the Storm in the Desert operation. The point of the suit was basically the same, although it was not upheld. Most likely, the American court will go together with the president, who is already really tired of talking the whole world into waging war on Iraq. Why making more problems for the national leader?

Vasily Bubnov

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov