Pirates, Libya, and the Constitution

Remember this line?

The Congress shall have Power … To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations.

It is from Article 1, Section 8 of the US Constitution — one of those enumerated powers contained within the document in order to clearly indicate the authority of Congress.  However, an unconstitutional imbroglio may be threatening the exercise of this power. From Bloomberg:

Fighting in Libya between rebels and national leader Muammar Qaddafiis diverting naval ships from anti-piracy patrols, according to the International Marine Organization.

“One has to be pragmatic and realistic and accept and understand that ships that might be made available to support counter-piracy will be deployed to address the Libyan crisis,” Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos said at a conference in London today.

American intervention in Libya lacks congressional approval, let alone a declaration of war (refer back to Section 8: Congress shall have power to … declare War). However, that will not stop our legislators from threatening the success of a constitutional mission. With all of the foreign policy focus on Libya, it is too easy to miss the growing problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia.

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