Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What Would Thomas Jefferson Say?

In his notorious "signing statements," El Presidente has long claimed that he's above the laws that Congress passes. He's said so ... 160 times. The federal ban on torture? "I'm not bound by it," the President wrote. Turn over data on the USA Patriot Act to Congress? "I don't have to," the President said. Postal reform? "I can open any mail I damn well please and without a warrant," quoth the Emperor.

Yesterday, the nonpartisan Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report outlining exactly how and when this president has made good on his threats not to follow the law. Jonathan Weisman has the story in today's WashPost.

The GAO followed 19 separate threats and found that the administration was not following the law in a third of those cases. The GAO can't exactly PROVE that Bush is still torturing, since torturing, as we know, is super-secret and often carried out in foreign prisons. The same impenetrable secrecy applies to the opening of the mail and to other secret spying on U.S. citizens. Who knows what they're doing?
...the GAO's findings are legally significant, said Bruce Fein, a conservative constitutional lawyer who served on an American Bar Association task force that excoriated the president's use of signing statements in a report last year.
Those good Republicans who can wink at this presidential power-grab might ask themselves: What would I be saying if this were President Hillary Clinton putting herself above the law? Better speak up now, 'cause waiting will only confirm your total hypocrisy.

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