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Many if not most political discussions around the use of military force by POTUS tend to slide down to War Powers Resolution, and for reasonable people, those tend to slide to "who knows, the only way to know if it's for real is to have it tested" (presumably, by Supreme Court of the United States).

So what would it take realistically for War Powers Resolution to be tested? Would congress need to pass a resolution to sue the Administration over violating it? Would a Representative need to sue the President over some violation of legislative prerogative? etc...

6

The biggest hurdle would be establishing standing in order to bring such a case. The military would be the most affected, but they would have to follow the UCMJ regard illegal orders. Congress is having their consent ignored and could bring a suit, however a single representative or senator probably wouldn't qualify since the consent of the entire body is required and a dissenting minority can't file suits in protest. Normal citizens likely would have any suit they brought dismissed as lacking standing.

Congress also has more direct options that would probably be used if the felt strongly that the president violated the war powers resolution. There are multiple different bills they could pass to force the president to stop his actions, like defunding the military activity, changing the war powers resolution, or passing a resolution specifically disapproving of the presidents actions. They also would have the option to simply impeach the president if they felt he went to far.

The war powers resolution is meant to handle exceptional cases by giving the president leeway to handle them as he sees fit. Actions in response to violations of this resolution would be similarly exceptional, and any process followed would likely be made up at that time to handle that specific situation.

  • Can you please clarify what you mean by Congress is having their consent ignored and could bring a suit? Sue whom in which court? – Rathony Aug 29 '16 at 16:32
  • the consent of congress is required to declare war, the war powers resolution goes further and says consent of congress is required for any conflict lasting longer than 60 days, with 30 days to withdraw. The president being the commander and chief would be the one required to get consent, and the one sued for not getting it, likely in the DC circuit court. – Ryathal Aug 30 '16 at 12:24

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