Worldly Talk

Civil discussion and debate on real world events and issues.


King George.

   
King George.

I do not intend this thread to be a bash of George W. as a person, or to debate his intelligence or anything such as that. This is about his administrations continued attempt (and successes I might add) to greatly strenghten the power of the executive branch. Quite possibly beyond constitutional limits.



IN the news today....

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WASHINGTON -- When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.

The bill contained several oversight provisions intended to make sure the FBI did not abuse the special terrorism-related powers to search homes and secretly seize papers. The provisions require Justice Department officials to keep closer track of how often the FBI uses the new powers and in what type of situations. Under the law, the administration would have to provide the information to Congress by certain dates.
Full story...


I could be wrong, but I thought the executive enforces the laws passed by the legislature. Not ignore parts that he doesn't like. There is no line item veto. He can voice his displeasure all he wants, but he still needs to do his job.

Hmm, I invoke the scottish barbarian -

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You think the people of this land exist to provide you with position. I think your position exists to provide those people with freedom.
Ok, well it's close enough.

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Originally Posted by Keith
I could be wrong, but I thought the executive enforces the laws passed by the legislature. Not ignore parts that he doesn't like. There is no line item veto. He can voice his displeasure all he wants, but he still needs to do his job.
The point of the Bush defenders is that if the legislature passes laws that encroach upon the president's constitutional powers, those laws can be ignored. What if, for example, Congress passed a law that said that the President was no longer the commander of the U.S. Armed Forces? The Bush defenders say that he is not obligated to obey such a law, because the expressed powers in the Constitution trump everything (except a constitutional amendment). Or what if the President passed an executive order that disbanded Congress. Surely they would disregard such an order.

I have even heard the Bush defenders claim that the War Powers Act of 1973 was unconstitutional and could be ignored.

Itís not surprising that people in power want more. It is the nature of government. It is not limited to the Bush presidency, and it is not limited to the office of the Executive. We have state judges who essentially write new laws that are binding on all states, and we have an ever-growing legislature that wants to legislate as much of our lives as they can.

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Originally Posted by Liv
The point of the Bush defenders is that if the legislature passes laws that encroach upon the president's constitutional powers, those laws can be ignored. What if, for example, Congress passed a law that said that the President was no longer the commander of the U.S. Armed Forces? The Bush defenders say that he is not obligated to obey such a law, because the expressed powers in the Constitution trump everything (except a constitutional amendment). Or what if the President passed an executive order that disbanded Congress. Surely they would disregard such an order.
If they were expressed powers he wouldn't need the patriot act to be passed in order to do them, now would he? What is wrong with requiring oversight to the new powers granted by the very act in question?

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Originally Posted by Liv
I have even heard the Bush defenders claim that the War Powers Act of 1973 was unconstitutional and could be ignored.
Its been around for a while now and no one has ever brought suit against it to have it be struck down as unconstitutional. That is the problem, simply ignoring laws and disregarding them without getting any sort of resolution done is quite frankly stupid, and dangerous.

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Originally Posted by Liv
Itís not surprising that people in power want more. It is the nature of government. It is not limited to the Bush presidency, and it is not limited to the office of the Executive. We have state judges who essentially write new laws that are binding on all states, and we have an ever-growing legislature that wants to legislate as much of our lives as they can.
Its true, the federal government has gotten larger in the past 50 years. Mainly through the legislative branch. Though I haven't heard of any state judges that make laws binding on other states. However, whenever I hear too much about this judicial 'activism', it feels like someone is repeating talking points somewhere. Legislating from the bench as it is known is far overblown. When certain laws are stuck down it is rarely and endorsement of the opposite point of view. It is usually because the law is poorly worded, or in some cases is mostly fine, but includes one detail which infringes upon the national, or state constitutions.

Would you say that the supreme court was actually writing new laws when they decided that 'seperate but equal' was not good law? As a result of their decision, laws were required to be changed. That doesn't make it legislating from the bench.


Many people got very upset in Massachussetts when the state supreme court decided that the state could not deny same sex couples the right to marry. Now, many of them claim(bill o reilly for example) that this is because the decision had to "go through the courts" rather than the legislature. This is clearly false, as you yourself said Liv, The Rule of law is better than the Rule of the majority. Based on the words written in the Constitution of the commonwealth of massachussetts, the state does in fact have no right to deny same sex couples. They didn't 'write new law' as opponents of the decision claim. Rather they stated that, based on the living document by which all laws in MA are held in check by, all rejections of marriage licenses to same sex couples based on the fact that they are same sex couples are unlawful. Now, if people feel that that is incorrect (they would be wrong). How ever, it is not like they have no options open to them. The constitution can be changed.

I am NOT claiming that the occasional judge/court never oversteps his bounds, merely that people who disagree with the decisions of courts often make this claim, despite not having any base to do so.

Well President Jackson did the same thing, blew over 2 elections later. If we get a dem in the white house the republicans are going to have a lot of stuff to swallow.

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If they were expressed powers he wouldn't need the patriot act to be passed in order to do them, now would he? What is wrong with requiring oversight to the new powers granted by the very act in question?
Given how little the Constitution actually matters to the exeuction of American government, the answer is quite often "yes."
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Its been around for a while now and no one has ever brought suit against it to have it be struck down as unconstitutional. That is the problem, simply ignoring laws and disregarding them without getting any sort of resolution done is quite frankly stupid, and dangerous.
Actually, the constitutionality of the War Powers Act was challenged several times in the 70s, but with no success. I completely agree with the statement in bold. Just look at how much damage ignoring and disregarding the 9th and 10th Amendments has done.
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Though I haven't heard of any state judges that make laws binding on other states.
That doesn't surprise me at all.
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Would you say that the supreme court was actually writing new laws when they decided that 'seperate but equal' was not good law? As a result of their decision, laws were required to be changed. That doesn't make it legislating from the bench.
No.
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Now, if people feel that that is incorrect (they would be wrong). How ever, it is not like they have no options open to them. The constitution can be changed.
You don't need to change the Constitution. You just need to find a court that will "interpret" the Constitution to mean what you want it to mean.
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I am NOT claiming that the occasional judge/court never oversteps his bounds, merely that people who disagree with the decisions of courts often make this claim, despite not having any base to do so.
And people who support the court's decisions often make this claim:
ClaimPeople who disagree with the decisions of courts often claim "Judicial Activism," despite not having any base to do so.

It is equally unimpressive.

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Originally Posted by Elder_Kin
Well President Jackson did the same thing, blew over 2 elections later. If we get a dem in the white house the republicans are going to have a lot of stuff to swallow.
If you really want a good example . . . just look at Abe Lincoln. He essentially suspended the Constitution in the newly conquered southern "states."

Rightfully so. Like a criminal you revoke lots of your rights when you break the law. If you outright rebel you can be assured that you'll get jack squat.

But IMHO reconstruction was botched. In all the annuls of history I've never seen a more lenient treatment of rebels. Romans burned Jerulsalem and than kicked the Jew out. The English crushed even peacful non-violent protests to their regime in india. How the heck do you just say "aw well rebels will be rebels"?!?!

But that's me.

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Rightfully so. Like a criminal you revoke lots of your rights when you break the law. If you outright rebel you can be assured that you'll get jack squat.
Not true. Criminals get constitutional protections . . . without a doubt. Now, captured enemy combatants and territories . . . that's a different story. Or at least it used to be a different story until Bush suggested that captured terrorists aren't protected by the Constitution, and then--all of a sudden--we're not so sure any more.

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Originally Posted by Liv
If you really want a good example . . . just look at Abe Lincoln. He essentially suspended the Constitution in the newly conquered southern "states."
If I recall correctly, Lincoln was dead very shortly after the war had ended. There was still martial law in the south immediately following the war, much as there is in any warzone immediately following a conflict. It just so happens that in this particular case the occupied territory was full of 'Americans'.




 

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