President Barack Obama's war against the Islamic State (ISIS) is illegal as the president must get authorization from Congress or end the conflict, said Sen. Rand Paul.
In an opinion piece for the Daily Beast, the Kentucky Republican said the War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the president to get consent from Congress within 60 days or end "hostilities" within 30 days if he failed to do so.
He emphasized that Congress must hold the president to account for violating the law.
"I believe the president must come to Congress to begin a war," he wrote. "Congress has a duty to act, one way or the other."
"This is, of course, not the only way in which this president is acting like a king," he added,
saying the president is also guilty of taking other unconstitutional actions, particularly on Obamacare and his plans for executive action on immigration.
"With both branches of Congress now under Republican control, we should act to halt those power grabs, too," he said.
Paul also made the point that conservatives have a duty to hold the president's authority to account even when they agree with his policies, such as the case with the airstrikes against the Islamic State.
"Conservatives who blast the president for ignoring the separation of powers on immigration display a fatal inconsistency by embracing unlimited war-making powers," he said.
"The Constitution demands authorization for war — not a cup of tea while the war drums beat," he added.
Paul argues that the issue signals a deeper principle about whether the country can survive as a constitutional republic.
"If ever there was too much bipartisanship, it would be the bipartisan acceptance of unlimited presidential war-making power," he wrote.
"Unchecked government power, without the necessary checks and balances, is contrary to our heritage and allows for injustices most Americans would find appalling, such as indefinite detention without legal representation and torture of American citizens."
Paul concluded with a robust call for conservatives to defend the separation of powers on a range of issues in which the president has taken more authority than he is legally permitted to do.
"It's time for conservatives to say enough is enough. Obama's commandeering of Congress' powers — from making war, to remaking our healthcare system — has to stop. There needs to be an across-the-board, consistent defense of the constitutional separation of powers. Nothing less will win the day. That should include this current battle in the Middle East."
He concluded by saying, "Taking military action against ISIS is justified. The president acting without Congress is not."
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