Friday, June 06, 2008

Saying No to Unjust Presidential Power

Recently hearing Karl Campbell discuss his new biography of Senator Sam Ervin, we were struck by how far we've traveled as a nation from the old senator's fierce defense of the U.S. Constitution against illegal presidential power-grabbing.

We've seen unprecedented expansions of unconstitutional presidential power under George W. Bush, and we've had no senator like Sam Ervin to say "Nossir, you won't!" Let's see, for starters we've got unaccountable secret snooping, extraordinary rendition and torture, signing statements that declare the presidency above the law, impenetrable secrecy and claims of executive privilege that are covering all sorts of abuses of power. And those are just the tips of the icebergs sticking above the waterline of the Bush administration.

John McCain is saying he agrees with all of it and wants to maintain and cultivate this appalling weed-patch.

McCain is the guy disgruntled Clintonistas say they'll vote for? Seriously?

Worse in some ways are the quiet signals McCain has sent about his plans for the Supreme Court. On May 6th, while all of us were distracted by the North Carolina primary win of Barack Obama, McCain was actually in our state, at Wake-Forest University, delivering a little-noticed speech on his "judicial philosophy."

McCain started by praising the wisdom of our Founders for installing the concept of the separation of powers in the Constitution but then warned about a huge but covert threat to that principle -- NOT the Bush administration's seizing of new executive powers but the supposed threat of "judicial activism."

Jeffrey Toobin has an analysis of this "dog whistle for the right," concluding that McCain is promising "that he will appoint Justices who will eliminate the right to privacy, permit states to ban abortion, and allow the execution of teen-agers":
"The Senator has long touted his opposition to Roe [v. Wade], and has voted for every one of Bush's judicial appointments; the rhetoric of his [Wake-Forest] speech shows that he is getting his advice on the Court from the most extreme elements of the conservative movement. With the general election in mind, McCain had to express himself with such elaborate circumlocution because he knows that the constituency for such far-reaching change in our constellation of rights is small, and may be shrinking. In 2004, to stoke turnout among conservatives, Karl Rove engineered the addition of anti-gay-marriage voter initiatives to the ballots in Ohio and other states; last week, though, when the California Supreme Court voted to allow gay marriage in that state, only hard-core activists were able to muster much outrage. When it comes to the Constitution, McCain is on the wrong side of the voters, and of history; thus, his obfuscations."

Bush has been bad enough ... giving Alito and Roberts as props to Scalia and Thomas ... and McCain would continue and intensify the assault on civil liberties and women's rights.

This is the man disgruntled Clintonistas will vote for? How far are you willing to go to parade your pique?

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