Monday, September 11, 2006

the "peacetime" constitution

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
UC Berkeley law Professor John Yoo, who as a Justice Department lawyer was one of the Bush administration's chief legal theorists, summarized its view in his forthcoming book, "War by Other Means":

"We are used to a peacetime system in which Congress enacts the laws, the president enforces them, and the courts interpret them. In wartime, the gravity shifts to the executive branch.''

I'm pretty sure the fact that Separation of Powers only applies when we're not at war with anyone or anything will be news to EVERY F&#KING CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER IN THE COUNTRY.

It sure was to Glenn Greenwald, who is also a constitutional lawyer:
The Constitution is actually pretty clear on that score. Article I says "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States" -- Article II says the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" -- Article III says "the judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in . . . inferior Courts." That arrangement isn't really a side detail or something that shifts based on circumstance. It's pretty fundamental to the whole system. In fact, if you change that formula, it actually isn't the American system of government anymore.

John Yoo (Mr. "Shifting Gravity," above) is the guy who provided the intellectual backing to Bush's "Unitary Executive" theory (the one about how the president becomes Supreme Overlord of the Universe whenever he decides it's time of war). This is the guy that the Republican White House thinks is the cream of the crop of America's constitutional scholars. The guy who thinks Separation of Powers is a thing of the past.

This will be the prevailing view in our government until the Republicans get booted out of office. And not one second before.

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