Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Executive power and national security

Apropos of the conversation prompted by these posts below, Power Line calls our attention to and comments on this WaPo article.

I think Paul Mirengoff has the politics of it just right. For the Democrats actually to affirm that our security situation has improved to the point where the measures taken in the immediate post-9/11 era are no longer necessary requires that they give credit to the Bush Administration for making us safer, which they’re not about to do. By contrast, President Bush has said that we can’t drop our guard. So what responsible position can the Democrats take? Their answer seems to be...ask us when we’re back in power. No thanks.

Discussions - 12 Comments

the responsible position that anyone, not just the Dems, can take is to say that the President should obey the law, and if any President is going to order these wiretaps it will not bypass court review

I agree that the legalty of the wiretaps is shaky and unknown at this point but the situation makes me think of a great sign that I saw when I was watching footage of the Cindy Jihad protests in our nations capitol this summer. The sign really made me stop and think. It said Freedom Isn’t Free. Yes exactly, my friends. We may have to GIVE UP some things in order to keep the freedomes that we hold to be so dear. Now I supose Fung will come on here and try to give me a lesson about what Freedom really means but this what I believe.


One responsible position is that if the President has the authority to obtain wiretaps under FISA while asking for a warrant, he should do so, rather than resting on shadowy inherent plenary powers derived from the commander-in-chief clause. What could be more reasonable than that?

Even if you agree with the President that inherent executive powers need to be nourished, I’d think that you have to admit that this is a battle that shouldn’t be fought when it’s not necessary, since it is likely to encounter stark resistance from the other branches as well as the opposition party (regardless of which party is in power).

Fat Mike

You Wrote:

Yes exactly, my friends. We may have to GIVE UP some things in order to keep the freedomes <sic> that we hold to be so dear.

In reality - this is not an exchange of some freedoms to insure other freedoms; rather, the exchange of freedoms to insure safety. It won’t work. We have been warned of this, 200+ years ago.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Ben Franklin.

"shadowy" about the president’s inherent constitutional power to resist (and hence to surveil) enemies dedicated to the mass slaughter of Americans.

This isn’t exactly "emanations of penumbras" stuff.

And there is a mechanism by which he may do that under FISA. As Brett points out, why not go through that channel?

Why not go through that channel? Because every second counts in preventing another terror attack thats why John! You should know this. Why make President Bush go through some Soviet-style beauracrocy to save American lives? I’m not sure why you would want to take a Democrat position on this.

So separation of powers is "Soviet-style beauracrocy" (sic)? I’m sure the Founders would love to hear that.

Look, I’m under no illusions about the Democrats and their desire to turn this to their political advantage. If there were a Dem in the White House now we’d be hearing this uproar from the Republicans, I am certain.

and you are right Professor.

Well, John, if it’s true that both Carter and Clinton engaged in the same thing, then your assertion that Republicans would have done the same thing may not be true.

Look John, you wont find anyone who loves this country and our Constitution more than I do. None the less, we need to be flexible. Human lives are on the line here! I heard the good Sen. Roarebacher put it best. If the terorrists hit our nations capitol the Constitution will burn up along with everything else. Think about that for a minute.

Mack, I’ll let you in on a little secret. They made a few copies of the Constitution, just in case something like that were to happen to the original. In fact, the Ashbrook Center has hundreds of them.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL:

Warning: include(/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2005/12/executive-power-and-national-security.php on line 709

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/sd/nlt-blog/_includes/promo-main.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/opt/sp/php7.2/lib/php') in /srv/users/prod-php-nltashbrook/apps/prod-php-nltashbrook/public/2005/12/executive-power-and-national-security.php on line 709