BOSTON -- President Bush does not have the authority to launch a military invasion of Iraq without a congressional declaration of war, according to a lawsuit expected to be filed in federal court in Boston on Thursday.
Six members of Congress, three U.S. servicemen and the parents of other U.S. military personnel said on Wednesday they would file the lawsuit that claims any U.S. invasion of Iraq without congressional authority would be unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs, led by U.S. Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, claim that the congressional declaration on Iraq last October did not specifically declare war and unlawfully gave Bush the right to make that decision, attorney John Bonifaz said.
The lawsuit will cite historical records, including the Constitutional Convention and the Federalist papers, that show framers of the constitution wanted to retain war-declaring powers within the Congress, Bonifaz said.
"They sought to ensure that the president of this country would not have the power of European monarchs to wage war; that should rest only with the elected body of Congress," Bonifaz said. "President Bush is not a king."
The plaintiffs include a member of the Massachusetts National Guard who was recently activated, an Air Force Reservist from Massachusetts, and a U.S. Marine stationed in the Persian Gulf, Bonifaz said. Their identities are not being made public, he said.
The suit names Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as defendants.
The plaintiffs also plan to file a motion for a preliminary injunction, which will seek an immediate hearing on their request that Bush be barred from declaring war without a congressional decision.
A White House spokesman referred calls to the Justice Department, which did not immediately return a request for comment after business hours Wednesday.
The other members of Congress named as plaintiffs are Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill.; Jim McDermott, D-Wash.; Jose Serrano, D-N.Y.; Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press