In this post and a second one, I will consider originalist approaches to the constitutionality of the President’s ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven foreign nations.Details
Author and historian Brion McClanahan takes on 5 common myths.Details
The Obama Administration looks to limits on its war powers with disdain, at best.Details
We are long past the point at which constitutional arguments have much hope of restraining the American political class, either at home or abroad. They are still worth making, though, since they serve to show the two major partiesâ€™ contempt for American law and tradition.Details
by Bob Barr
Testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, July 25, 2008
Mr. Chairman and distinguished Members of this Committee, on which I was privileged to serve throughout my eight years as a Member of the House of Representatives, it is an honor to appear today to speak on the importance of the separation of powers in the federal government as a tool for protecting the peopleâ€™s liberties. Many vital issues confront our nation, but few are more important than repairing and maintaining the constitutional bulwarks that guarantee individual liberty and limit government power.
Mr. Chairman, today I appear as a private citizen, and also as a former Member of this Committee and as a once-again practicing attorney. I am also honored to be serving as the presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party.
It is axiomatic that no matter how much power government has, it always wants more. While the executive branch under George W. Bush has taken this truism to new heights, it is not unique in its quest for power. Unfortunately, the other branches of government have failed to do enough to maintain the constitutional balance. Particularly disturbing has been Congressâ€™ recent reluctance, in the face of aggressive executive branch claims, to make the laws and ensure that the laws are properly applied. This failure has inhibited the operation of the separation of powers, necessary to provide the checks and balances which undergird our system of constitutional liberty.Details
Watching Keith [Olbermann] just now, I heard him mention Antonin “Nino” Scalia’s dissenting opinion from today’s ruling in regards habeas corpus rights for detainees.
The lowlight of Justice Scalia’s opinion was the paragraph:
“The game of bait-and-switch that todayâ€™s opinion plays upon the Nationâ€™s Commander in Chief will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.”
While others will surely spend countless hours and buckets of ink and pixels debating the merits or madness of the second sentence, I’ve a bone to pick with the first.
Scalia has, over the years, demonstrated a profound lack of understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the role of the Supreme Court. His devotion to the concept of “originalism” selectively ignores the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, key components of the document as “originally” ratified. The codicil to the majority opinion in Bush v. Gore, in which the nation’s ultimate appeals court, where all legal precedent is finally decided, declares that the judgment in that case is not, in fact, legal precedent.Details
by Ivan Eland
More memos recently have surfaced that were written early in the Bush administration by John C. Yoo from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — the man who gave us the administration’s horrifyingly narrow definition of torture. As difficult as it is to believe, the recently released memos are even scarier than the original torture memo.
Yoo boldly asserts that the president’s power during wartime is nearly unlimited. For example, he argues that Congress has no right to pass laws governing the interrogations of enemy combatants and the commander-in-chief can ignore such laws if passed, and can, without constraint, seize oceangoing ships.Details
This week, Rep. Ron Paul introduced HR 3835 – the American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007. This bill, if passed, would go a long way towards restoring liberty and the constitution in this country, and eliminate a number of “laws” that were enacted beyond the Constitution’s limit on federal power.Details
George Bush has formally presented an expansion of NAFTA to Peru. And, under FastTrack “rules,”Congress cannot amend the legislation.
What does this mean? Well, it’s quite simple. Under Fast Track, the president has the authority to ignore the will of Congress in negotiating new trade agreements.Details