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President Nixon has been conducting the Indochina War illegally since Jan. 12, 1971, when Congress repealed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals said Tuesday.

The court declared that the Tonkin Gulf Resolution amounted to a declaration of war but "the resolution cannot serve as justification for the indefinite continuation of the war since it was repealed by subsequent congressional action."

Samuel L. Popkin, lecturer on Government, said yesterday that the decision will have "absolutely no impact." He said, "The decision may protect some other countries, but it definitely will not affect Indochina."

Suit Against Nixon

The decision resulted from a suit 13 Democratic congressmen brought against Nixon in April 1971. Basing their suit on the premise that war was never actually declared on Vietnam, they asked the court to forbid Nixon from continuing the war unless Congress declared war within 60 days.

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