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Monday, December 19, 2005

No President Is Above the Law



"...with liberty and justice for all." Guess the Preznit and his merry band of cronies forgot that part of the pledge, and decided to go with "with liberty and justice so long as we're in the mood at the moment, otherwise we'll do as we please."

Unfortunately for Bushie, life doesn't work that way here in our democracy. (If only he'd been born king...) Living in a nation of laws does have its advantages -- especially when those who interpret those laws, even those who have tended to side with the Administration the last few years, finally reach a stage when they can't even force that bile down any longer.

Alan Dershowitz reached the tipping point today on CNN's Situation Room, and Crooks and Liars has the video.
I think the President broke the law....It's not enough for the President to get his lawyers to tell him what he wants to hear. That's not the kind of objective legal advice that the Constitution requires for this kind of action to be undertaken.
Dershowitz further called for Congressional hearings and an inquiry into the power of the President.

As if that weren't bad enough, Jonathon Turley, usual Republican go-to guy, pissed off Bill O'Reilly by suggesting that the President committed a crime. (Crooks and Liars has this video as well.)
I don't consider this a close case at all....This operation was based on a federal crime.
Turley goes on to shoot down O'Reilly's attempt to frame this as being possible under the War Powers Act, saying even at a time of declared war the President still must follow the laws. Period.

Turley further went on to say that this sort of surveillance has already been found to be illegal by federal courts, that these actions constitute a federal felony and that the President has conceded that he took a direct role in it. (Ouch!)

By the way, the fellow that looks like Burl Ives twin snowman from the Rudolph movie is Paul Rothstein, law professor at Georgetown, whose hair dye has clearly addled his brain. The Granting Clause of Article II of the Constitution does not give the President permission to break the law any time he pleases.

In fact, Section 3 of Article II requires that "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Oops...maybe they'll give him a mulligan. Well, probably not, since neither ignorance nor "evil staffers made me do it" is an excuse for breaking the law.

Oh, and just so no one misses these, here's a round-up of a few other items worthy of some attention:

-- Sen Byrd (D-WV) gave a scorcher of a speech on the Senate floor today.

-- Dr. Germ and a whole host of other Saddam WMD experts were released. Guess they get to go home (or to some other undisclosed location to set up a new shop) for Christmas the holidays. So much for that whole keeping WMDs out of the hands of the terrorists reason for going to Iraq, eh?

-- And so it begins.

-- Patriot Daily is doing a running blog-roll on items dealing with the FISA/NSA mess. (Found via TalkLeft.)

-- And, as always, Froomkin is a must read.

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