Friday, September 22, 2006

Executive Interpretation

Remember back when we weren't sure yet whether Bush would become President, on November 22, 2000, he came up with this little nugget?

The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law.

At the time, everybody thought it was just Bush misspeaking again, and assumed he knew better than that, that that's the job of the judiciary branch.

Maybe not. Apparently, his Press Secretary, Tony Snow, agrees with him, and officially says it's so:

Me [Eric Brewer, I think]: But isn’t it the Supreme Court that’s supposed to decide whether laws are unconstitutional or not?

Tony: No, as a matter of fact the president has an obligation to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. That is an obligation that presidents have enacted through signing statements going back to Jefferson. So, while the Supreme Court can be an arbiter of the Constitution, the fact is the President is the one, the only person who, by the Constitution, is given the responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend that document, so it is perfectly consistent with presidential authority under the Constitution itself.

Add onto that heap of ignorance, that Tony didn't even know that John Yoo was one of the big guys in claiming more and more power unto the Executive. He assumed that Yoo's editorial was an attack on Bush, because of the outrageousness of Yoo's claims, I suppose. And had to defend his President from this "attack" that was published in the New York Times editorial section, written by his former Deputy Assistant Attorney General, who dared to claim that, “the White House has declared that the Constitution allows the president to sidestep laws that invade his executive authority."

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