I am not a lawyer. Longtime readers will recognize the pattern that emerges everytime I discuss a legal ruling I do not like. For the newer readers, the pattern is:
1.) I see a story about a court ruling that infuriates me.
2.) I get the vapors, and immediately write a hasty and frosty post filled with ire.
3.) Cooler heads point out I do not know my ass from a hole in the ground about the law.
4.) More often than not, it turns out I jumped the gun with my outrage, and submit a weak mea culpa a few days later (or do nothing and hope people forget what an over-reactive moron I am).
With that in mind, I bring you this:
The board of governors of the American Bar Association voted unanimously yesterday to investigate whether President Bush has exceeded his constitutional authority in reserving the right to ignore more than 750 laws that have been enacted since he took office.
They include a former federal appeals court chief judge, a former FBI director, and several prominent scholars — to evaluate Bush’s assertions that he has the power to ignore laws that conflict with his interpretation of the Constitution.
Bush has appended statements to new laws when he signs them, noting which provisions he believes interfere with his powers.
Among the laws Bush has challenged are the ban on torturing detainees, oversight provisions in the USA Patriot Act, and “whistle-blower” protections for federal employees.
I don’t know how a President choosing to ‘ignore’ laws can be interpreted as anything other than exceeding constitutional authority. I am willing to bet there are a few exceptions where this may be ‘legal,’ but 750 times? I find that doubtful.
And if you are wondering why this matters, look no farther than the current debate about torture/detainee treatment mentioned below. The fact that the VP’s office is pushing the Pentagon to remove Geneva references from guidebooks is directly related to Bush signing the McCain amendment but noting he has no intention of following it.
*** Update ***
For the 2-3 Republicans who still read this site, I would suggest the Clinton test would be appropriate for this post. Before you start to flame me for agreeing with the liberal media, the liberal ABA, and the liberal boogeyman du jour, try on this statement for size:
The board of governors of the American Bar Association voted unanimously yesterday to investigate whether President HILLARY CLINTON has exceeded her constitutional authority in reserving the right to ignore more than 750 laws that have been enacted since she took office.
What do you think now?