Monday, October 27, 2008

Unitary Executive & Posse Comitatus: You Decide

Maybe this will be the issue that will separate one presidential candidate from another... and make it easier for independents to choose one or the other of the two majority party presidential candidates, or somebody else, or write in Nobody, or None of the Above, or leave everything blank to confound election officials. Was that a blank ballot intended by the voter, or machine malfunction???

Unitary executive = signing statements makes this fairly easy for us.

A recent "signing statement" issued by President George W. Bush is discussed in our

Monday, October 27, 2008
US Army Brigade Assigned Aide Quell Civil Unrest in USA?

President Bush apparently dismissed any limitations placed on his authority when he issued a signing statement pertaining to the National Defense Reauthorization Act.

Our question stands. who will stand up for the citizenry of the United States of America? Which presidential candidate will as Commander in Chief say no thanks to any quasi-military presence on United States soil, at the ready, just in case?

If any among us can emphatically answer that one then shouldn't we vote for that one?

Net the Truth Online

What is it?

The Unitary Executive
By Scott Horton

In the Framers’ Constitution, after Congress passes a law and sends it to the President for signature, the president has the right either to sign the bill into law, or to veto it, in which case it can still become law if it receives the proper extraordinary two-thirds majority in the House and Senate. In the Cheney-Addington Constitution, the President is simply entitled to sign the bill, and issue a statement in which he tailors it exactly as he wishes – making amendments and changes as it suits him. These emendations are either done secretly or they are contained in a Signing Statement issued by the president at the time he signs the bill. You might call this entire process a secret amendment of the Constitution.

But, the president’s friends argue, this is just a system designed to protect the Constitutional powers of the presidency against encroachment from the Congress. It applies only in certain rare instances, right?

Wrong. A study by the Government Accounting Office gives us the bad news. About 30 per cent of all laws are now covered by these Signing Statements have simply been ignored, and President Bush uses the Signing Statement as his magic pencil to change whatever he likes. Read the GAO report here.

The 'unitary executive' question
What do McCain and Obama think of the concept?
by Dana D. Nelson
October 11, 2008
In answering Gwen Ifill's question about vice presidential powers at last week's debate, Joe Biden redirected attention to the still not very well known concept of the "unitary executive."

...One problem is that presidential unilateralism can seem reassuring in times of crisis, so it often receives congressional support. Most recently, in the name of managing our fiscal crisis, Congress has granted unprecedented powers to the executive and to an unelected and unaccountable secretary of the Treasury.

Another problem is that once Congress gives powers to the executive branch, it seldom can get them back...

...Bush's aggressive exercise of unilateral powers has attracted serious opposition. Unfortunately, too many imagine that the unitary executive doctrine and its kingly prerogatives will leave office with him. That hope is false. History teaches that presidents do not give up power -- both Democrats and Republicans have worked to keep it. And besides, hoping the next president will give back some powers means conceding that it is up to him to make that decision.

If people have found Bush's exercise of executive power alarming, they should not only begin questioning presidential candidates about it, they should make it clear to their congressional representatives that they want these excess powers checked. Barack Obama has already promised that he will continue using signing statements, though he will not act as if they have the force of law. Interestingly enough, John McCain has suggested he will end the practice. These slim indicators deserve more pressure and scrutiny...,0,224216.story

discussion of

Stubborn facts blog

McCain and the 'Unitary Executive'
By Robert Parry
May 13, 2008

...Even if the clear intent of the Founders was to avoid a tyrannical Executive by placing key war-making powers in the hands of the Legislature, right-wing legal scholars have favored overturning those principles in the name of an all-powerful President.

So, on one level, McCain might choose another Alito or two in order to reverse Roe v. Wade or allow states to crack down on homosexual rights. But he also would be enshrining the concept of a “unitary executive.”

Thus, perhaps more than any other question, the November election will settle whether a future Supreme Court will reshape the United States into an imperial system both at home and abroad – or roll back President Bush’s expansion of executive power in the direction of the Founders' original vision.

Obama-Clinton Battle

There is also a political component on the Democratic side to McCain’s May 6 promise to Republicans that he will help the Right consolidate control of the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court.

While many supporters of Hillary Clinton – especially middle-age white women – have told pollsters that they won’t vote for Barack Obama if he wins the Democratic nomination, that position might ensure that a core feminist principle, “reproductive rights,” will be struck down by the Supreme Court.

In other words, to show their anger over the defeat of a female presidential candidate, Clinton supporters might end up contributing to a historic defeat for feminist rights, including the possible outlawing of abortions in many states.

However, beyond the issue of abortion and other privacy rights, Democrats and all Americans will be faced with a fundamental question when they vote in November:

Will they continue the noble experiment of a democratic Republic with "unalienable" rights for all, what the Founders envisioned with the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution of 1787?

Or, do Americans want to go down the path marked by the likes of Yoo, Alito and Bush – ceding virtually all power to one individual who can operate beyond all laws and outside the rules of human behavior – and do so with the blessing of the U.S. Supreme Court?

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