White House lawyers are reviewing legal options to authorize a campaign, including an application of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which empowered President George W. Bush, and later Mr. Obama, to carry out military action against Al Qaeda and its affiliates.
But against ISIS, the president has invoked his authority as commander in chief and notified Congress of specific airstrikes under the War Powers Resolution. In his latest letter on Monday, the seventh since the threat from ISIS emerged in June, he wrote, “I appreciate the support of Congress in this action” — support that he has not formally received.
Some legal experts have noted that sending repeated letters under the War Powers Resolution has the effect of resetting the clock, since under the law, the president has 60 days, after each letter, to terminate the military action or obtain the approval of Congress.
The article goes on to say the President does not think he needs the authorization of Congress. This lends more credence to Goldsmith’s theory.