Only Congress Can Declare War

by Michael Boldin

The framers of the Constitution attempted to balance the power of the President as commander-in-chief with that of Congress, the representatives of the People.

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution gives to the Executive Branch the command of the nation’s armed forces, while Article I, Section 8 gives to the Legislative Branch the power to decide when the United States goes to war.

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An Impossible Job

As usual, this election season, the Presidential candidates are telling us how they’ll make life better for you.  They’ll improve the economy, help your investments, protect you from harm, help you get a raise, ensure that you’ll keep your home, and much, much more.

The problem, of course, is that most of what these candidates talk about doing is simply not authorized by the Constitution.

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Not my Commander in Chief

Cross-Posted from DailyKos.com with permission of the author, Crashing Vor

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 today’s opinion plays upon the Nation’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.

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The Presidency: Executive or Imperial Branch?

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.

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