Okay, so I’m reading around the ‘net at some of my Democrat friends’ blogs, and I’m reading about Sam Alito’s views on Executive [the president’s] power.
One article is here [specifically this paragraph: “A close reading of Alito’s answers raises concerns that he might indeed be an advocate of broad and unchecked presidential power. If Alito fulfills these fears on the Court, he could support those who insist that the president’s power in the war on terrorism is essentially unconstrained. And unconstrained power can lead to abuses–such as torture, illegal surveillance, or detention without charge–that undermine the core values of American society.“]*
*Emphasis mine, to remind us all that these very things have been happening to people of Middle Eastern descent in our very own country, and in Iraq. This scares the bejeebers out of me, people! You can’t do that to your fellow humans, for any reason!!
Another article is here. That one was written last month before the hearings began, and it focuses mostly on what worries me about Alito: Executive Power.
The conservatives are focusing solely on Alito’s views on abortion, and have completely glossed over the fact that he thinks the pres. Should be allowed to do pretty much what he wants. It’s called “Unitary Executive Theory” click the link for the whole article, but below is a quote about the Bush Administration. I’m gonna edit it a little because it’s really long, but you can go read the whole article in Wikipedia [that’s the link;-)]
“The Bush administration
This administration seems to interpret the theory [of unitary executive power]more extremely than the previous ones. As for what specific constitutional limitations on the judicial power President Bush may have in mind, there is heavy speculation that it relates to Professor John Yoo‘s position that the use of military force is, like presidential vetoes and pardons, an unreviewable matter.
President George W. Bush has applied the theory of the “unitary executive” in many of his decisions, most significantly in relation to its substantive element. Per the Presentment Clause, the President must sign any bill having passed Congress before that bill becomes law; the Bush Administration has often issued Signing statements to legislation signed by the President, detailing how the executive branch will construe the law.
For instance, in his statement announcing his signing H.R. 1646, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003, President Bush wrote:
‘The executive branch shall construe as advisory the provisions of the Act, including sections 408, 616, 621, 633, and 1343(b), that purport to direct or burden the conduct of negotiations by the executive branch with foreign governments, international organizations, or other entities abroad or which purport to direct executive branch officials to use the U.S. voice and vote in international organizations to achieve specified foreign policy objectives. Such provisions, if construed as mandatory rather than advisory, would impermissibly interfere with the President’s constitutional authorities to conduct the Nation’s foreign affairs, participate in international negotiations, and supervise the unitary executive branch.
In effect, Bush stated that when it comes to administering the executive branch, any Congressional requirements are merely advisory. It is not
unusual for a president to release such a signing statement when he has concern as to how a bill he is signing into law will be interpreted in later court cases. Skeptics point out that he in effect uses them as line item veto although the Supreme Court already held the line item vetoes as unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York.
One of the signing statements which has attracted most controversy is the signing of the McCain Detainee Amendment, prohibiting cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees in U.S. custody:
ÂThe Executive Branch shall construe [the torture ban] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power.Â
Since, under the “Unitary Executive” theory, the Commander-in-Chief
has broad authority to use his discretion in interpreting and applying the law,
the President has with that statement reserved the right to waive the
The most recent example, in which the premise that any law limiting the
Presidents power is unconstitutional is advanced by the Bush administration
and its supporters, is the FISA controversy. In the words of former Vice President Al Gore:
‘A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government. Our Founding Fathers were adamant that they had established a government of laws and not men. Indeed, they recognized that the structure of government they had enshrined in our Constitution – our system of checks and balances – was designed with a central purpose of ensuring that it would govern through the rule of law. As John Adams said: “The executive shall never exercise the legislative and
judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of
laws and not of men.”
An executive who arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directives of the Congress or to act free of the check of the judiciary becomes the central threat that the Founders sought to nullify in the Constitution – an all-powerful executive too reminiscent of the King from whom they had broken free. In
the words of James Madison, “the accumulation of all powers, legislative,
executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and
whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the
very definition of tyranny.”
At present, the position taken by adherents of the “unitary executive”
theory, and promoted by John Yoo in particular, holds that a U.S. President in the exercise of his Constitutional war powers can not be restrained by any law, national or international. Opponents note that such a stance, resembling the FÃ¼hrerprinzip, is not unlike the one seen in police states. Supporters reply that it is exactly the same war power that Abraham Lincoln used to issue the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, in the face of Copperheads who called him a
dictator and sought his assassinatiSkepticstics are not convinced, since the Supreme
Court in Ex Parte Milligan had already determined that the suspension of Habeas corpus was unconstitutional.”
Conservative Christians see a man who claims Christ as Savior and takes his faith seriously. They have been blinded to the truth that this man really wants to be “King George”. Near as I can tell, Judge Alito is right behind the Pres. on this one [which renders useless the whole “Checks and Balances” thing.]
These men may be against abortion, and I know that’s important to Conservative Christians, but they are not “Pro-Life.” They want to be able to suppress our God-given rights [like freedom of privacy, freedom from false imprisonment, and freedom from torture, to name just a few] to forward their own agendas, and make it look like it’s for ‘our own good.’
My main concern here is that we [by ‘we’ I mean Conservative Christians] have been fooled into believing that all our dreams are coming true with these ‘men of faith’ coming into office. Bush & Co. have come in with their trumpets blaring about banning abortion, not allowing same-sex marriage, etc. in the hopes that we won’t notice [or care] that they are slowly trying to give tprivilegeddged few’ more power, while taking away the voice of anyone who disagrees with them.
This is exactly the kind of crap that Hitler did to the Germans while scheming ways to exterminate the Jews. We can see the horrid propaganda that Hitler released about how Jewish people were the root of everything bad in the world. He got them all worked up about it, and proceeded to take over the world, one country at a time.
Is there anything different in what Bush is doing? Yes, he’s liberated Iraq from a horrible leader who needed to be gotten rid of, but he’s also made sure that his personal choice for a replacement got voted in during the elections. Is it possible that Bush has called it ‘Democracy,’ when really he’s just taken over a country by force, and is now ruling it by proxy?
I don’t know it for sure, but that is what my gut is telling me. He doesn’t seem to have a target for hatred like Hitler did with the Jews [some might disagree with that, though]. I don’t think he’s necessarily trying to exterminate an entire group of people because of their race. I think there is evidence that he’s trying to muscle out anyone who disagrees with his tactics, though.
I think W. picked the conservative Christian party-line because he knew there were so many of us, and also because we were all so disgusted with Bill Clinton’s inability to control himself in the Oval office. He knew there would be a backlash, and that’s how he squeaked by in the first election. The country wanted someone who had integrity in his personal life, and was a professing Christian [notice how a lot of Protestants don’t consider Catholics Christians? It’s not something we talk about in public, but it’s fairly common in private.]
So in swoops W. who, instead of being unsure about his faith, stamps it on his forehead for all the world to see. We even liked it when he said God told him to, because that’s the kind of language we like to hear [I’m not talking about all Christians here, I’m just using some general terms.] We instinctively trust some one who agrees with us on the Big Issues, so we trusted W.
Before my foray into post-modern Christianity, and hanging out with and listening to more ‘Liberal’ people on the web, I agreed with all this stuff. I trusted W. with the best of ’em. And yes, I voted for him.
I really believed that sincere Christians could be trusted. I foolishly thought that I could believe what they told me without looking it up for myself [most pastors will tell you to check up on them with scriptures and through prayer, and that, for some reason encourages us to take their word for it and not do those very things. Imagine my surprise when I did my own research and realized that I disagreed with most of what I had previously believed].
Dammit! I hate being lied to more than anything, and not only was I lied to by others, but I lied to myself. I wanted it to be easy, cut and dried, black and white. It’s easier to believe what others tell you than to form your own opinions. It’s way easier to sleep through this life than to wake up and find you were wrong, and then have to choose whether to stand up and scream it from the rooftops, risking becoming a pariah to the people you love most, or to roll over and go back to sleep.
Jeez, you see the kind of stuff I come up with when I’m gone for a couple of days?
I need a nap.