Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Offensive Lecture on Executive Privilege Et Alia

Bush has once again claimed "Executive Privilege" as an excuse to avoid being checked by the legislative branch.

Let me be clear: there is no such thing as "Executive Privilege." Read the damn Constitution (Article II is on the Executive Branch).

The whole thing comes--I think--from Marbury v. Madison (1803), when the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Marshall declared that a part of the Judiciary Act of 1789 (I think) was unconstitutional. This part would have enabled the court to issue a writ of mandamus to require the executive branch to submit to legislative authority. Writing for the majority, Marshall explained that such a power would violate the separation of powers.

The issue was whether or not the Court could force President Thomas Jefferson to require Secretary of State James Madison to deliver a commission as Justice of the Peace of the District of Columbia to one William Marbury.

What happened was when John Adams (the first and only Federalist president) lost the election of 1800 to his Democratic-Republican rival--Jefferson--he (Adams) began to issue appointments to stout federalists who would maintain office long after the party had declined into the pit of hell that it deserved (it has since been resurrected--first by the Republicans under Abraham Lincon--but now it is the backbone of both the Republican and Democratic Parties, that is that government is better than the people, the free market, and basic axioms of logic).

Adams made such unethical appointments to the last minute of his administration. Marbury was one of the so-called "Midnight Judges," in that Adams drafted the commission in the very moments before his term expired.

However, for Marbury, his commission came too late. Adams and his cronies had to leave, and it was up to Jefferson to order the delivery of the remaining commissions, of which Marbury's was one.

The duty to deliver such commissions fell to the Secretary of State, so Jefferson simply told Madison (the Sec. of State) to ignore the commissions--for if undelivered, the commissions were invalid.

At the Federalist Party's behest, Marbury sued. His argument was to envoke the writ of mandamus that would empower the Supreme Court to require Madison to deliver the commission.

Jefferson and Madison stood fast, and they prevailed.

This is the context from which Bush claims his "Executive Privilege" to deny Congress access to information.

It's a load of horse manure. That's what it is.

Marshall ruled because he feared that such a power would enable a separate (but equal) branch to usurp the authority of another branch. That is perfectly rational. The writ of mandamus, as it was worded in the Judiciary Act, was unwise.

However, Marshall's decision in no way made the executive branch immune from legislative scrutiny. Look at the damn case, and see for yourself.

But Bush thinks that anytime anyone wants to examine his administrations actions, he can just claim "Executive Privilege."

Here's a pasting of Article II of the Constitution. This article defines the executive branch and its limits by stating what its powers are. Nowhere is there a word of anything akin to "Executive Privilege":

Section 1.

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representatives from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be encreased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--''I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.''

Section 2.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

Section 3.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

Section 4.

The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Not only is there no mention of anything resembling what Bush calls "Executive Privilege," consider how much is not constitutionally within the President's power. Look at all promised by McCain and Obama. Virtually none of it is within their constitutional jurisdiction.

Jesus, people, learn the Constitution. See what frauds are these sonsofbitches that are funning for office. You blew your most recent opportunity with Ron Paul. For the next few years you (and I, unfortunately--because you a-holes drag me down)will suffer both unnatural inflation and/or increased taxation. All because you couldn't lend your support to the one man who stood up and said, "No more."

God damn it, you all are harder than the Berlin Wall to break.

If you're offended by that, then it's your own fault.

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