Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Laws? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Laws!

One of the most important stories of the past two weeks is Charlie Savage’s Sunday feature from 4/30/06 in The Boston Globe about the systematic disregard for the law by President Bush, who has disregarded no fewer than 750 U.S. laws. The news about the secret and illegal NSA call-tracking program makes the article all the more relevant. If you missed it, here it is. Here’s the first three paragraphs:

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.

The disregard for whistle-blower protection and due process statutes are particularly troubling. But the article clearly shows that the NSA call-tracking program is perfectly in line with the Bush ideology, although not the law.

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