Meaningful Vote or Constitutional Theater?

During Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sought the assurance of Secretary of State John Kerry that the Obama Administration would abide by the result of Congress’ vote on whether to authorize the use of US military force in Syria. Contrary to the President’s statements, Paul said he does not believe that the President has the Constitutional authority to order military action without Congress’ blessing. Paul said the Founding Fathers didn’t delineate “big war” or “small war” or boots on the ground versus none when giving Congress the power to declare war. If Congress should vote against use of force and the President goes ahead anyway and orders an attack, “you’re making a joke of us” and the process would have been nothing but “Constitutional theater,” said Paul to Kerry. “Only if our vote is binding is it meaningful,” said Paul. The President is “not asking you to declare war,” responded Kerry. “He’s not asking you to send one American troop to war.” Instead, “The President is asking for the authority to do a limited action that will degrade the capacity of a tyrant who has been using chemical weapons to kill his own people,” said Kerry.