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Unconstitutional president

2005-12-19 17:33:07.841553+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

The United States Constitution, Article II, Section I says of the President:

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

The constitution turns to the Legislative branch to make laws, and for the sake of argument we'll say that U.S. Code Title 50 Chapter 36 is a constitutional law. For those of you not familiar with this law, it allows the executive branch to set up secret wiretaps without court order for up to 72 hours, and provides a judicial review for those wiretaps. This judicial review is by a court set up to do nothing but look at the legitimacy of said eavesdroppings.

Why, then, did our current President decide that he needed to go outside even that level of judicial review in spying on U.S. citizens:

President Bush, brushing aside bipartisan criticism in Congress, said Monday he approved spying on suspected terrorists without court orders because it was "a necessary part of my job to protect" Americans from attack.

I'm very, very afraid.

[ related topics: Politics Privacy moron Law Current Events Civil Liberties ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-20 08:34:49.772923+00 by: topspin

In reality, there's little unique about Bush. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War, Wilson in WWI had the Sedition Act passed and before those there was the Alien and Sedition Act during the French-Indian War. Roosevelt and Congress, with the SCOTUS agreeing, took the liberties and freedom of Japanese-Americans during WWII.

Here's a cheery little quote that ends the late Chief Justice Rehnquist's book about civil liberties and war:

An entirely separate and important philosophical question is whether occasional presidential excesses and judicial restraint in wartime are desirable or undesirable. In one sense, this question is very largely academic. There is no reason to think that future wartime presidents will act differently from Lincoln, Wilson, or Roosevelt, or that future justices of the Supreme Court will decide questions differently from their predecessors. But even though this be so, there is every reason to think that the historic trend against the least justified of the curtailments of civil liberty in wartime will continue in the future. It is neither desirable nor is it remotely likely that civil liberty will occupy as favored a position in wartime as it does in peacetime. But it is both desirable and likely that more careful attention will be paid by the courts to the basis for the government's claims of necessity as a basis for curtailing civil liberty. The laws will thus not be silent in time of war, but they will speak with a somewhat different voice.

That "different voice" is the one that comes from internment camps and jail cells. It's sad, weak, and muffled, but hardly unknown in this country.

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-20 15:23:45.389117+00 by: ziffle [edit history]

"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," Bush screamed back. "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"


Some of you may understand from what I have written previously that the 'earth has moved' when I say I no longer support this president. He is dangerous to our Representative Republic.

Ziffle of Mayberry

#Comment Re: made: 2005-12-21 01:09:10.450541+00 by: Dan Lyke

Topspin, I guess we can't just blame it on Republicans, then, 'cause Wilson wasn't one.

Rafe had a number of links that I'll copy for here: Bruce Schneier on the situation, Brendan Nyhan on all of the times that Dubya has asserted that wiretaps require warrants, while wiretapping without a warrant, and DefenseTech.org on reaction from the intelligence community.