June 28, 2011

The State Department’s top lawyer on Tuesday defended the legality of the U.S. military involvement in Libya as some lawmakers accuse President Barack Obama of violating a 1973 law requiring congressional authorization.

State Department legal adviser Harold Koh urged U.S. lawmakers to nonetheless vote for a resolution authorizing the U.S. role in the NATO-led mission. He said this would show a “united front” with U.S. allies and help to ensure that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi does not get the upper hand in his country’s civil war.

There is a simmering controversy in Washington over whether Obama has violated the War Powers Resolution, passed during the Vietnam War era.

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