Sunday, March 26, 2006

And Yet Another Bush Power Grab

As if the fact that the President routinely ignores the U.S. Constitution wasn’t bad enough, now we have him completely ignoring the laws passed by Congress.

When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

Now, I’m no fan of the Patriot Act – it should never have been allowed to pass – but, damn! Even its flimsy restraints on the abuse of power should be followed. I mean, why bother having a Congress at all, if the President can simply do whatever he wants, whenever he wants.

Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.

I’ve posted items before observing how the erosion of the separation of powers doctrine is a very serious threat to our liberty. So now, in addition to the President ignoring a law passed by Congress, he’s assuming the authority to interpret how that law is to be applied. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that the job of the Supreme Court?

Perhaps sometime in the future, the President will “quietly issue” a statement indication that he does not “feel obliged to obey” the rulings of the Court? Of course, Conservatives everywhere will undoubtedly cheer on this ruthless power grab, as they’ve been whining for years about reigning in those “black robes”, to curb their “judicial activism” and whatnot.

Federalism died a long time ago. Now, we are beginning to see the demolition of the separate branches.

In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

Bush wrote: ''The executive branch shall construe the provisions . . . that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch . . . in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information . . . "

So there you have it. The laws passed by Congress shouldn’t be allowed to interfere with the unchecked ability of Bush to wield power.


Blogger Goggalor said...

Sorry, man; I needed a break. It was too hard for me to do it alone and compete at the level I was well, competing at. It should return (hopefully) to how it was a couple of months ago. However, I will only post about 4 times a week max. I am getting rid of Resa. Her posts suck.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Libertarian Jason said...

Amen, Goggster...

7:41 AM  

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