I Want To Remind You, You Still Have Two Out Of Three Branches Of The Government, And That Ain’t Bad
Posted on | November 13, 2006 |
A lot of people out there are singing “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead” but as President Dale said in Mars Attacks! two out of three ain’t bad. Bush and his cronies have used his incumbency well in terms of stuffing the judiciary with far-right judges. He’s shifted the Supreme Court significantly rightward and if there’s another vacancy in the next two years, you know he’ll name a moderate conservative before a liberal or progressive. And there’s at least one very elderly Justice.
Then there are the signing statements. The “unitary executive” has attached statements to over 700 bills passed by Congress, essentially serving the purpose of a non-overturnable veto. Think about it, Bush hasn’t vetoed anything. Why? Because he can just attach a signing statement saying that he’ll interpret these provisions this way and those provisions that way and he won’t pay attention to any of this other nonsense.
Now if he vetoed a bill, Congress could overturn the veto. But by not vetoing anything but covertly saying via a signing statement that he doesn’t have to pay any attention to it, Congress doesn’t have anything to overturn. It’s a line item veto express and SCOTUS already determined the line item veto was unconstitutional for this very reason. The executive’s duty is to execute all laws “faithfully”, not to pick and choose whichever laws he wants to execute. If the Prez doesn’t think a bill is good for any reason, he has a veto. That gives Congress the power to either change things so he’ll sign it or else overturn the veto. That’s how checks and balances work. And that’s just the kind of protection against tyranny the forces who despise democracy want to subvert.
This theory of the unitary executive subverts the Constitution completely and gives us a president with monarchial powers. So before anyone starts thinking the battle to save American democracy is over, just remember, a cornered rat has lots of fight left in him…