Tuesday, July 18, 2006


I usually don't post on very political topics. There are plenty of blogs out there, left and right, that beat these issues to death. However, the Attorney General said something that is really interesting to me. In specific, Gonzalez is quoted as saying that "the president 'has the inherent authority under the Constitution to engage in electronic surveillance without a warrant.'"

The source of "inherent" authority for the president under the Constitution must be found in Article II of the Constitution, or in the amendments. Within Article II, only Sections 2 and 3 set forth presidential powers. They are:

(1) be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;
(2) require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices;
(3) have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment;
(4) have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;
(5) nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law;
(6) have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session; and
(7) take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.

Frankly, I do not see "conduct needful wiretapping of international communications without warrant" on the list. In fact, only the Commander in Chief position even vaguely smacks of this authority, and neither the Army nor the Navy is conducting this wiretapping, so that looks like a loser. Besides, although Congress does not have the courage to exercise its rightful position, the Constitution is explicit in granting Congress broad foreign policy duties, including regulation of trade with foreign nations, declaring war, and making rules concerning captures on land and water. Congress is also responsible for several aspects of the military, including raising and supporting armies and navies.

If the president has "inherent authority" for wiretapping under any of the seven powers listed above, he has the "inherent authority" to do whatever he wants.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's President Bush. He thinks he has "inhereted authority" to do what ever he wants.

6:02 PM  

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