Speaking not just as a law professor but as a citizen: It would be nice to know if President Obama thinks the [Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF)] authorizes him to use military force in Boston, wouldn’t it? Not whether he would as a matter of policy refrain from using military force in Boston, but whether as a matter of law he believes that Congress has authorized him to use military force in Boston if “the enemy” turns up there. … President Obama should tell us if he agrees that the 2001 AUMF gives him open-ended authorization to send U.S. troops into combat anywhere on Earth, as long as he asserts that their mission is to fight al Qaeda or “its associates.” Or does he think there is some limit — geographical, functional, or temporal — on the scope of his authority under the AUMF? And: If there are some limits, how can Congress and the American public be sure his administration is abiding by those limits?
And, Mr. President? “Trust us, we have very careful procedures” is not the right answer here. Convince me that “checks and balances” refers to something other than the federal budget.
Stay tuned. I’ll be listening closely.