Above The Law?

Discussion in 'Law and Justice System' started by jillian, May 1, 2006.

  1. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    Bush challenges hundreds of laws
    President cites powers of his office
    By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | April 30, 2006

    WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

    Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

    Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

    Former administration officials contend that just because Bush reserves the right to disobey a law does not mean he is not enforcing it: In many cases, he is simply asserting his belief that a certain requirement encroaches on presidential power.

    But with the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, in which he ignored a law requiring warrants to tap the phones of Americans, many legal specialists say Bush is hardly reluctant to bypass laws he believes he has the constitutional authority to override.

    Bush challenges hundreds of laws GLOBE GRAPHIC: Number of new statutes challenged
    Examples of the president's signing statements

    Far more than any predecessor, Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws -- many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone as the head of the executive branch or the commander in chief of the military.

    Many legal scholars say they believe that Bush's theory about his own powers goes too far and that he is seizing for himself some of the law-making role of Congress and the Constitution-interpreting role of the courts.

    Phillip Cooper, a Portland State University law professor who has studied the executive power claims Bush made during his first term, said Bush and his legal team have spent the past five years quietly working to concentrate ever more governmental power into the White House.

    ''There is no question that this administration has been involved in a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding presidential power at the expense of the other branches of government," Cooper said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and very significant."

    [MORE]

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/04/30/bush_challenges_hundreds_of_laws/
     
  2. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    Examples of the president's signing statements
    April 30, 2006

    Since taking office in 2001, President Bush has issued signing statements on more than 750 new laws, declaring that he has the power to set aside the laws when they conflict with his legal interpretation of the Constitution. The federal government is instructed to follow the statements when it enforces the laws. Here are 10 examples and the dates Bush signed them:

    March 9: Justice Department officials must give reports to Congress by certain dates on how the FBI is using the USA Patriot Act to search homes and secretly seize papers.

    Bush's signing statement: The president can order Justice Department officials to withhold any information from Congress if he decides it could impair national security or executive branch operations.

    Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.

    Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will assist in preventing terrorist attacks.

    Dec. 30: When requested, scientific information ''prepared by government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress] uncensored and without delay."

    Bush's signing statement: The president can tell researchers to withhold any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive branch.

    Aug. 8: The Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its contractors may not fire or otherwise punish an employee whistle-blower who tells Congress about possible wrongdoing.

    Bush's signing statement: The president or his appointees will determine whether employees of the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can give information to Congress.

    Dec. 23, 2004: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating in any combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number of US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.

    Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive branch will construe the law ''as advisory in nature."

    Dec. 17: The new national intelligence director shall recruit and train women and minorities to be spies, analysts, and translators in order to ensure diversity in the intelligence community.

    Bush's signing statement: The executive branch shall construe the law in a manner consistent with a constitutional clause guaranteeing ''equal protection" for all. (In 2003, the Bush administration argued against race-conscious affirmative-action programs in a Supreme Court case. The court rejected Bush's view.)

    Oct. 29: Defense Department personnel are prohibited from interfering with the ability of military lawyers to give independent legal advice to their commanders.

    Bush's signing statement: All military attorneys are bound to follow legal conclusions reached by the administration's lawyers in the Justice Department and the Pentagon when giving advice to their commanders.

    Aug. 5: The military cannot add to its files any illegally gathered intelligence, including information obtained about Americans in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches.

    Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can tell the military whether or not it can use any specific piece of intelligence.

    Nov. 6, 2003: US officials in Iraq cannot prevent an inspector general for the Coalition Provisional Authority from carrying out any investigation. The inspector general must tell Congress if officials refuse to cooperate with his inquiries.

    Bush's signing statement: The inspector general ''shall refrain" from investigating anything involving sensitive plans, intelligence, national security, or anything already being investigated by the Pentagon. The inspector cannot tell Congress anything if the president decides that disclosing the information would impair foreign relations, national security, or executive branch operations.

    Nov. 5, 2002: Creates an Institute of Education Sciences whose director may conduct and publish research ''without the approval of the secretary [of education] or any other office of the department."

    Bush's signing statement: The president has the power to control the actions of all executive branch officials, so ''the director of the Institute of Education Sciences shall [be] subject to the supervision and direction of the secretary of education."

    http://www.boston.com/news/nation/w..._of_the_presidents_signing_statements?mode=PF
     
  3. dmp
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    dmp Senior Member

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    Good. :)
     
  4. GotZoom
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    GotZoom Senior Member

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    I was going to say......

    I don't see anything wrong with any of his "signing statements."
     
  5. 5stringJeff
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    5stringJeff Senior Member

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    Part of all the "signing statements" is Bush exercising his power as Chief Executive. Every executive government department reports to him, so he has the right and the duty to oversee those departments. Part of it is Bush exercising his right to voice his constitutionality over the laws that Congress passes.

    I don't see anything wrong - nor would I if it were a different President in office. This is nothing more than the regular power struggle between branches of government that has been going on since 1789.
     
  6. CrimsonWhite
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    CrimsonWhite *****istrator Emeritus Supporting Member

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    If there is a problem with any of his "signing statements," then take it up with the USSC. The USSC has the constitutional authority to tell the President if he is wrong, thus far, they have not made any such statement.
     
  7. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    Actually, no...they don't. The USSC has the authority to hear only a case and controversy brought before it by appropriate channels.
     
  8. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    He doesn't have the authority to disobety law. While the Constitutionality of any law can be brought before the Court, he doesn't have any right to say a law doesn't apply to him.

    He's president...not king. You do realize that, right? :eek2:
     
  9. jillian
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    jillian Princess Supporting Member

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    I do...and so would most people who have concerns about unfettered executive power.

    Just remember...tides will turn someday. How would you feel if someone whose politics you found abhorrent took that type of power for himself and decided he didn't care what Congress said?
     
  10. StoptheMadness1
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    StoptheMadness1 Member

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    I say give him unlimited authority.

    Why should we pay any attention to what history shows us when people allow their leaders to go unrestrained?

    That would be silly.

    ---

    "Oh George, the third" - written a year before the American revolution, by one of the members of the Brady family - my ancestors.

    “Oh, George the third, what do you mean,
    Is wisdom from you fled,
    Or have you got no eyes to see
    That England’s almost dead.

    Why do you cause the foul north wind
    Upon this garden to blow,
    So that the flowers cannot spring,
    It seems to blast them so.

    Consider well before too late,
    Consider while you’re king,
    Oh think, think that your empires great,
    While over us you sing.

    But when you turn our cruel foe
    As plainly doth appear,
    Then we are forced to let you know
    That you shall not reign here.

    Nor shall your cursed ministry
    Impose on us their laws,
    And if they ask us to comply
    Well smash and break their jaws.

    At boston now they have begun
    To show their cruel spright,
    But well I know ere all was done
    Many souls did take their flight.

    And so shall many, many more
    Ere we lose liberty,
    Before freedom shall live no more
    Both you and we shall die.”

    ---

    Have courage and stand up to the tyrants, for if we don't the bonds of tyranny will shackle us all in a most hellish prison.
     

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