Monday, February 06, 2006

Presidential Power

How can any self-respecting rightwinger make an arguement like this:
"The President has enhanced responsibility to resist unconstitutional provisions that encroach upon the constitutional powers of the Presidency."

. . .or this clear statement of principle, we have the Clinton administration to thank. Specifically, then-Attorney General Janet Reno's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) -- the Justice Department's elite unit of lawyers for the lawyers. It was chiseled into a formal 1994 OLC opinion, aptly entitled "The President's Authority to Decline to Execute Unconstitutional Statutes," by then-Assistant Attorney General Walter Dellinger, OLC's top gun.

As a general rule, it is not a good idea to spend more than a decade demonizing a man and then set his administration up as an example of good behavior. I used to think of Clinton as a dangerous president with an exapansive view of executive power, but these days I can hardly remember why without the aid of James Bovard.

P.S. On a related matter, Hugh Hewitt suggests and Prof. Reynolds seems to agree (did you ever notice how rarely Reynolds actually says anything, rather than just giving the implied endorsement of a link) the that Sen. Frist schedule a sense of the Senate vote on whether to keep the NSA eavesdropping program or to kill it, even though that would be a false choice. The real choice would be among the following:
1 Keep the program as is.
2 Abolish it.
3 Or keep it subject to the oversight of the FISA Court and/or the Congress.

I think that most reasonable people would be in favor of the third option.

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