Conduct unbecoming of a President

Conduct unbecoming of a President.

Ours is a government of limited power. We learn in elementary school the concept of checks and balances. Those checks do not vanish in wartime; the President's role as Commander in Chief does not swallow up Congress's powers or the Bill of Rights. Given the framers' skepticism about executive power and warmaking–there was no functional standing army at the beginning of the nation, so the President's powers as Commander in Chief depended on Congress's willingness to create and expand an army–it is impossible to find in the Constitution unilateral presidential authority to act against US citizens in a way that violates US laws, even in wartime. As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor recently wrote, “A state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens.”

Elizabeth Holtzman penned a fantastic piece entitled “The Impeachment of George W. Bush” in this month's issue of The Nation. Holtzman served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973 to 1981, and was a member of the House Judiciary Committee that held hearings on the impeachment of Richard Nixon in 1974. In the piece, she makes a reasonably strong argument for how Bush has carried on in a way detrimental to both the office of the Presidency and the nation as a whole; I'd say that it's worth a read no matter which side of the political fence you're on (but of course, I know better than that). [Q Daily News]

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