Friday, July 20, 2007

"executive privilege trumps all"

Now the de facto Bush Monarchy I mean Administration has said that, law to the contrary, the US Attorney in Washington DC (and the Justice Department) will NOT be allowed to pursue Congress' "contempt charges against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege."

In other words, the President by a word can prevent the application of a law (an impulse also used in his signing statements). And the President, by uttering the magic incantation "executive privilege", can prevent Congress (a co-equal branch of the government) from using the courts (another co-equal branch of the government) from trying to get Administration officials to speak. This gives the White House - not just the de facto Bush White House, but the upcoming Clinton or Obama or Giuliana or Romney White House - a much greater ability to prevent people from investigating any wrong-doings.

George Mason professor Mark Rozell said this was "a breathtakingly broad view of the president's role in this system of separation of powers. What this statement is saying is the president's claim of executive privilege trumps all."

Yep. Even more breathtaking was what a former Reagan/Papa Bush legal official, David Rifkin, said about this decision (which he likes). He said "U.S. attorneys are emanations of a president's will."

"Emanations of a president's will?" That sounds like some sort of justification for rule by divine right or something. Does that mean every single person working in the executive branch, whether a US attorney or a Social Security clerk, is expected to blindly follow presidential will rather than exercising their expertise and understanding of law and regulation? If that's the case, heck who needs laws? We can just trust King George the Immature to tell us what's what.

Congressman Henry Waxman wondered if Bush's next step would be simply to abolish the Department of Justice. Wrong, Congressman. Why abolish it when you can convert it into a tool of your personal political will? Why abolish it when you can order it to pursue prosecutions for political reasons? Why abolish it when you can use it in your campaign to suppress the vote by minorities and the poor (aka, "Democratic voters")? Why abolish it when you can order it, and the US attorneys, not to look into wrongdoings by the White House by uttering that potent phrase, "executive privilege."

If we do maintain the rule of law and democracy in this country, with the people able to express their collective will with the expectation that the government might actually respect the results of elections, it will be in spite of the best efforts of the Cheney-Bush junta.

Ben Franklin said we had a republic, if we can keep it. I fear we may keep a republic. A banana republic.

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