Law professors to challenge legality of Iraq War in court

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The constitutionality of the War in Iraq will be the subject of a hearing in Newark’s Federal District Court on Tuesday, April 21, at 11 am. The suit brought by the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers School of Law–Newark challenges the legality of the invasion of Iraq without a Congressional Declaration of War. The plaintiffs are New Jersey Peace Action, a non-profit anti-war group; an Iraq war veteran; and two New Jersey mothers, members of Military Families Speak Out, whose sons were deployed in Iraq.

The April 21 hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Jose L. Linares is in response to the government’s motion to dismiss the Complaint.

Rutgers Professor Frank Askin, Director of the law school’s Constitutional Litigation Clinic, and Bennet Zurofsky, Newark attorney who is general Counsel of New Jersey Peace Action, will appear on behalf of the plaintiffs. The brief in opposition to the motion to dismiss the lawsuit can be found at

The complaint was drafted by Rutgers’ law students under Professor Askin’s supervision, after a year-long study of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the adoption of the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8, lodging the power to declare war in the Congress, rather than the President.

The suit does not ask the Court to take any direct action against ongoing activities in Iraq. It claims that the President is not authorized under the Constitution to launch a preemptive war against a sovereign nation and seeks a Declaration that can be used as a guide to the legality of such actions in the future.

The lawsuit was aided by the work of Alfred W. Blumrosen, Thomas A. Cowan Professor Emeritus, and Steven Blumrosen as described in HBB on March 9, 2009 under the heading “Why Do the Courts Let Presidents Get Away With War?”

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