White House Weighs Order on Detention Obama administration officials, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, are crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior gover... (By Dafna Linzer and Peter Finn, The Washington Post) washingtonpost.com Under the current incarnation of One Party Rule, the Republicans are impotent in the face of Obama and his large Democratic majority. The only hope for any moderation of the power of this presidency, must come from principled Democratic legislators in Congress (Feingold, Feinstein, and Leahy are stepping up). The only hope for economic sanity, must come from Democratic fiscal conservatives like the few Democratic representatives in the House of Representatives that voted against the stimulus porker. I have to conclude by quoting Geln Greenwald one more time as he dismantles the its only been three weeks objection in another post on the topic. Not to mention - my absolute favorite Founding Father quote - James Madison in Federalist #51 explaining the need for checks and balances with the phrase "Ambition must be made to counteract ambition." a phrase I've employed in my blog's sidebar, title and several posts. For all those reasons, plus the fact I can never hope to write as well as Greenwald, plus his unquestioned credibility with left -of-center readers, I'd encourage you to read his whole article: Theres just no denying that there are substantial and disturbing steps which have been taken. And critically, the primary excuse offered by Obama supporters for all of these actions he just needs more time; its only been three weeks is a complete straw man... Not even the Obama DOJ is claiming they needed more time. Theyre saying they had all the time they needed, so Obama supporters should really stop trying to defend them by offering up excuses that the Obama administration itself rejects. There are people who believe that Barack Obama is kind, just and good, and thus are going to have a hard time believing that hes embracing some of the most abusive Bush/Cheney policies even when he does it right in front of their faces. Others arent ever going to object to what Obama does in this area, because they believe (as Bush supporters believed about Bush) that theres nothing really wrong if Obama wields these same powers since Obama is a kind-hearted ruler and therefore can be trusted not to abuse these powers. As DCLaw pointed out yesterday, people with that swooning mentality cant be reached because they dont really believe in the basic premise on which the country was founded, as enunciated by James Madison in Federalist 51 We dont place faith in the Goodness and kindness of specific leaders even Barack Obama to secretly exercise powers for our own Good. We rely instead on transparency and on constant compulsory limits on those powers as imposed by the Constitution, by other branches, and by law. Thats what it means to be a nation of laws and not men. When Obama embraces the same abusive and excessive powers that Bush embraced, it isnt better because its Obama rather than Bush wielding that power. Its the same. And thats true even if one trusts Obama more than Bush" I'd like be optimistic on this subject, but am having a hard time getting there. As I said, what hope I do have comes from the Democrats in Congress who are moving to begin the process of restraining executive power, and/or in the hope that Obama will appoint Supreme Court justices that will strike down the kind of expanded presidential power that Obama supports. If it does come down to a showdown between Congress and the Executive branch, itll be interesting to see what the Republicans do. Obama may very well find common cause with many Republicans to preserve the Bush/Cheney expanded powers. DWSUWF's Blog: Obama Embraces and Defends the Bush/Cheney Unitary Executive What is an Executive Order? From time to time I hear that President Bush has issued an Executive Order establishing this policy or that. What is an Executive Order? Where does the President get the authority to issue them? Is there any way to reverse an Executive Order? "Stroke of the pen. Law of the Land. Kinda cool." Paul Begala, former Clinton advisor, The New York Times, July 5, 1998 "We've switched the rules of the game. We're not trying to do anything legislatively." Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, The Washington Times, June 14, 1999 Executive Orders (EOs) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. Executive Orders are generally used to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of congressionally established laws or policies. However, in many instances they have been used to guide agencies in directions contrary to congressional intent. Not all EOs are created equal. Proclamations, for example, are a special type of Executive Order that are generally ceremonial or symbolic, such as when the President declares National Take Your Child To Work Day. Another subset of Executive Orders are those concerned with national security or defense issues. These have generally been known as National Security Directives. Under the Clinton Administration, they have been termed "Presidential Decision Directives." Executive Orders do not require Congressional approval to take effect but they have the same legal weight as laws passed by Congress. The President's source of authority to issue Executive Orders can be found in the Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution which grants to the President the "executive Power." Section 3 of Article II further directs the President to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." To implement or execute the laws of the land, Presidents give direction and guidance to Executive Branch agencies and departments, often in the form of Executive Orders. ThisNation.com--What is an Executive Order? And during the campaign, Obama declared that Executive Orders were not, Constitutionally, in a President's power/purvue.