Friday, August 10, 2007

John Dean on Executive Aggrandizement

John Dean, former White House Counsel under Richard Nixon, has posted an essay on Findlaw that says the danger of the so-called "Protect America Act" is its executive aggrandizement. Here's a quote:

This law is another bold and blatant move by Bush to enhance the powers of the Executive branch at the expense of its constitutional co-equals. . . .

This, of course, is consistent with Bush and Cheney's general drive to weaken or eliminate all checks and balances constraining the Executive. This drive was evidenced by countless laws enacted by the Republican-controlled Congresses during the first six years of the Administration, and in countless signing statements added by the President interpreting away any constraints on the Executive. Thus, when even the GOP Congresses required presidential compliance and reporting, they were thwarted.

The most stunning aspect of the Democrats' capitulation is their abandoning of their institutional responsibility to hold the president accountable. The Protect America Act utterly fails to maintain any real check on the president's power to undertake electronic surveillance of literally millions of Americans. This is an invitation to abuse, especially for a president like the current incumbent.

No comments: