Sunday, March 12, 2006

Executive powers farce

It's hilarious that conservatives who tend to have the strictest and most narrow interpretations of the limitations set by the separation of powers on the judicial branch pull an about face when we're talking about the executive. Suddenly, all of their handwringing about the "will of the people" and the supremacy of the legislative branch collapses.

If only there were a two word catch phrase to frame the issue...

Executive Activism?

Feingold to press for presidential censure

edit: It gets better. Check out Frist's reaction:

Frist said censuring the president would give U.S. enemies the impression that Bush doesn't have the nation's full support.

"The signal that it sends, that there is in any way a lack of support for our commander-in-chief who is leading us with a bold vision in a way that we know is making our homeland safer, is wrong," said Frist.

This is rich coming from the guy who voted to impeach Clinton and said this:

I will have no part in the creation of a constitutional double-standard to benefit the President. He is not above the law. If an ordinary citizen committed these crimes, he would go to jail. Many senators have voted to remove federal judges guilty of perjury, and I have no doubt that the Senate would do so again. Those who by their votes today confer immunity on the President for the same crimes do violence to the core principle that we are all entitled to equal justice under law.

Moreover, I agree with the view of Judge Griffin Bell, President Jimmy Carter's Attorney General and a former Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Judge Bell has stated: `A President cannot faithfully execute the laws if he himself is breaking them.' These offenses--perjury and obstruction of justice--are not trivial; they represent an assault on the judicial process. Again, Judge Bell's words are instructive:

Truth and fairness are the two essential elements in a judicial system, and all of these statutes I mentioned, perjury, tampering with a witness, obstruction of justice, all [are] in the interest of truth. If we don't have truth in the judicial process and in the court system in our country, we don't have anything. So, this is serious business.

I agree. The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice are public crimes threatening the administration of justice. They therefore fit Alexander Hamilton's famous description of impeachable offenses in Federalist No. 65: `[O]ffences which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or violation of some public trust.' The electorate entrusted President Clinton to enforce the laws, yet he chose to engage in a pattern of public crime against our system of justice. We must not countenance the commission of such serious crimes by the chief executive of our nation.

The President broke his oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God. He likewise broke his oaths to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Just how important are oaths? We take oaths to substantiate the sanctity of some of our highest callings. Years ago, I took the Hippocratic Oath to become a physician. In January 1995, I took an oath of office as a United States Senator to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. Then, just last month, I had to take a special oath of impartial justice for this impeachment trial. Raising your right hand and swearing before God is meant to be serious business. Swearing falsely is equally serious. I recall the conclusion of the Hippocratic Oath:

If I fulfil this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

What a fucking tool.

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