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What is Executive Privilege? and why Bush can’t hide behind it March 25, 2007

Posted by Dan in Must Read, News, Politics.


Feel free to read through the Constitution (its posted on this site), but you wont find any mention of “Executive Privilege;” the notion that communications between the President and his staff are confidential. In fact, in a democracy, one would expect the opposite, transparency of government, to be Constitutionally mandated. So where did this idea even come from?

The Supreme Court allows it under a weak argument for the principle of “Separation of Powers,” but historically courts have struck it down in cases involving criminal charges. The current controversy over the firing of Democratic U.S. Attorneys is not criminal.

However, traditionally Executive Privilege is used in matters of National Security, to protect United States interests. When members of the White House staff overstep the bounds of legality, and fire Government Employees not stationed in D.C., based on their political affiliations, without the consent or knowledge of the President, Executive Privilege amounts to Bull Shit.

What is a system of checks and balances if it can’t check and balance? The Executive Branch has authority over the Judicial Branch. This is the actual means by which the attorneys were fired. However, like any good game of rock-paper-scissor, Congress trumps the Executive Branch, and the Judicial Branch trumps Congress. So, when Congress subpoenas members of the White House staff, they’re exercising the exact same power that was used to fire the attorneys in the first place; merely their end of it.

In other words, to have the power to fire U.S. Attorneys requires that you submit to Congressional oversight of said activities. Don’t believe me? Read the Constitution again.

U.S. Attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the President, but the President serves at the pleasure of The People/Congress. I think ours has forgotten this, has drastically overstepped his bounds, and needs to be reeled back in again. Thats why I, like so many other prominent political voices, believe that if ever there was a time when impeachment was justified, now is that time. Congress must reassert its authority or risk loosing it forever.

Remember, Clinton was successfully impeached, but never removed from office. That required the Senate’s consent, and the votes just weren’t there. This is exactly what will happen to Bush. He wont be removed, but he does need to be publicly chastised for doing a horrible job as President of the United States of America. The World at large needs to see that the American People do not approve of this behavior, and as elected representatives of the people, it is the duty of Congress to perform this action.

Our future stake in the World Political Arena is in jeopardy. If our judicial system can’t protect itself against arbitrary firings, then what good is it as a system of justice, law, and reason? The White House can not simply remove one third of our government because they each disagree. Democracy is about compromise, its about the will of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority. You can’t simply ignore them!

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