Our Founding Fathers created three separate but co-equal branches of government to check and balance each other so no one branch would become all powerful. Indeed, James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, “The preservation of liberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct.”
More than 200 years later, we have another King George. In the last six years, George W. Bush has sought to accumulate all governing powers in the same hands – his. In the Declaration of Independence, the framers charged that the King “refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.” Bush has repeatedly violated the Constitution’s command that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,” by breaking some and refusing to enforce others. The Constitution grants Congress the power to make laws; after both houses pass a bill, the President can only sign it or veto it. Bush, however, takes a different tack. He has vetoed just three bills, then quietly attached “signing statements” to more than 1,000 congressional laws, indicating his intent to follow only those parts with which he agrees.
In an end run around Congress and the courts, Bush secretly authorized the Terrorist Surveillance Program to conduct electronic surveillance without a judicial warrant, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the Fourth Amendment. Although two judges on a three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging the legality of Bush’s spying program for lack of standing, the only two judges ever to rule on the merits declared the program illegal.
The Bush administration lied to Congress to get authority to invade
During the war,
Bush’s legal eagles, particularly David Addington and John Yoo, concocted elaborate “legal” arguments to justify the torture of prisoners. Never mind that international and American law forbid torture under all circumstances. Pursuant to a common plan to violate the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, prisoners in
The Bush administration has secretly rendered prisoners to other countries to be tortured. One former CIA agent observed, “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to
Shortly after 9/11, the Bush gang set up a prison camp in GuantÃ¡namo, intending to create a legal black hole where they could hold prisoners for the rest of their lives without any judicial oversight. But the Supreme Court didn’t buy the administration’s argument that
The Supreme Court said in Berger v. United States that a prosecutor’s job is to see that justice is done, not to politicize justice. But Bush’s Department of Justice, the chief law enforcement agency in the government, has been seriously compromised. Several
The White House is resisting congressional subpoenas that call for testimonial and documentary evidence about the
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her new book, Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, will be published in July. Her articles are archived at .