The President’s Contempt For The Constitution
By now you’ve all heard the White House’s latest “F – You” to Congress. Claiming executive privilege, W won’t let any of his underlings testify about the US Attorney firings. Two things ought to really disturb all of us about this situation, regardless of whatever label we claim for ourselves.
First, this video
Sorry, folks, there is no defense for a high ranking executive official claiming she swore an oath to the president.
Second, about this executive privilege thing. The claim is not just that W himself is immune from testifying, nor only that W and current White House officials are immune, but that those two and even former officials – i.e. Harriet Miers – are immune.
Now consider this statement from W in a 2000 presidential debate.
I’ll put competent judges on the bench, people who will strictly interpret the Constitution and will not use the bench to write social policy. I believe that the judges ought not to take the place of the legislative branch of government, that they’re appointed for life and that they ought to look at the Constitution as sacred. I don’t believe in liberal, activist judges. I believe in strict constructionists. And those are the kind of judges I will appoint.
O.k., now find “executive privilege” in the Constitution. Of course, you won’t find anything about privileges for the president, nor anything about his underlings, and certainly nothing about former underlings. It ain’t in there. If it exists, it’s as one of those penumbra things.
I have no problem with penumbras. I do have a problem with W’s hypocrisy. In his mind, when the issue is individual rights for folks like you and me, we have to read the constitution strictly. (We can’t let people have too much freedom, that’s why the terrists hate us, you know.) But when the issue is power for the executive branch, well, then, Earl Warren’s methods of interpretation would be a great place to start.
That, to me, is the absolute worst possible way to interpret the constitution. I can see reading the whole thing broadly, or reading the Bill of Rights broadly but the rest of it narrowly, but to read it so as to maximize the power of one branch of government while minimizing individual rights? I think that would be anathema to all the founding fathers.
In other words, once again, we’ve got one law for all of us, and another for W and his buddies.