By Scott Cavanagh
If you thought the Bush administration's habits of illegal wiretapping, abandoning of habeas corpus and endorsing torture were bad enough, prepare yourself for the next stage in the imperial presidency of King George II -- rule by administrative order.
In another effort to completely ignore the legislative branch of government, the administration this week openly touted it's plans to bypass the laws of the land and the Constitution, by implementing a variety of presidential decrees designed to push through all aspects of the Bush agenda.
A Washington Post article titled "To Implement Policy, Bush to Turn to Administrative Orders," reported that "White House aides say the only way Bush seems to be able to influence the process is by vetoing legislation or by issuing administrative orders, as he has on veteran's health insurance, air-traffic congestion, protecting endangered fish and immigration. They say they expect Bush to issue more of such orders in the next several months, even as he speaks out on the need to limit spending and resist any tax increases"
The president's willingness to bypass the law is nothing new. Over the past six years, the use of presidential "signing statements" -- a heretofore little-used caveat that allows presidents to tweak aspects of certain laws to make them more effective -- has gotten so out of control that it has been used by Bush and company to avoid adherence to nearly 30% of all laws passed in that time. In less than six years in office, this president has used signing statements over 800 times to challenge laws he disagreed with -- over two hundred times more than the previous 42 presidents combined.
The use of both signing statements and administrative orders were particularly topical this week, as Congress continued to debate the nomination of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General.
Mukasey's nomination has been stalled over the judge's reluctance to refer to the interrogation practice of waterboarding as torture and his ambivalence concerning the wiretapping of American citizens.
Bush's signing statements concerning torture have made the congressional ban on cruel and unusual punishment almost meaningless, while last week's revelations that the administration used domestic phone companies to illegally spy on Americans prior to 9/11/2001 has come under attack by leaders of both parties.
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Friday, November 2, 2007
By Scott Cavanagh