Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 29, 2008
By: Hilzoy

MUSIC TO MY EARS...

From the Reuters blog:

"During a fund-raiser in Denver, Obama --a former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School -- was asked what he hoped to accomplish during his first 100 days in office.

"I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution," said Obama."

It makes me smile just thinking about it.

Hilzoy 12:49 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (92)

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Comments

If he didn't already have my vote, this would be a decider for me.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on May 29, 2008 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

If only.

Posted by: R.L. on May 29, 2008 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

...and then I'd tell my AG to enforce every subpoena that Bush administration officials are currently in contempt of.

Posted by: Scott Forbes on May 29, 2008 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Cotton candy for the faithful. It's a staple in their diet right now.

Posted by: Steve-O on May 29, 2008 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

How about this instead: Overturn the executive orders that actually ARE unconstitutional, instead of ones he FEELS are.

Posted by: cynical joe on May 29, 2008 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Hear, hear!

Posted by: lellis on May 29, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

How about establishing a war crimes tribunal-- headed by patrick fitzgerald-- that would investigate: war profiteering, crimes against humanity (torture), treason (lying us into war), violations of the fourth amendment, etc. etc.

Posted by: gfw on May 29, 2008 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

Say, how about John Edwards for AJ?

Posted by: Joseph Palmer on May 29, 2008 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

He better do this, I feel the country needs to do this.

Edwards?

How about John Dean?

Edwards & Turley can handle roles as special prosecutors.

Put the fear of God in these bastards ... start putting a few of them in jail, literally in jail, and they'll start ratting one another out like the 2 bit criminals they are.

Posted by: TB on May 29, 2008 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

If America still had a balance of power, they would have alread been overturned.

Posted by: Boronx on May 29, 2008 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

Um, Edwards was a products liability/med. mal. attorney, not a criminal prosecutor; unless Cheney, Feith, Bush et. al designed faulty pool drains and jet skis, Edwards probably won't be putting "the fear of god in them". I like and respect John Dean a lot, but a convicted felon, especially one that was convicted for crimes committed in the course and scope of national governmental duty, is not the right person for AG. Where do people come up with this stuff? Simply amazing.

Posted by: bmaz on May 29, 2008 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

Thank you, bmaz. Well said.

Posted by: DonkeyOdie on May 29, 2008 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Bush can't pardon himself. In the last days of his administration he could resign and turn over the reins to Cheney, who doesn't have that long to live. Dick could pardon George and everyone else. Accountability is for the little people.

Posted by: bad Jim on May 29, 2008 at 3:57 AM | PERMALINK

What is the effect of this policy on signing statements? Are they as undone as easily as they are done? I'd like to know, but--as with many other political theories--I hadn't heard of the things before this administration.

Posted by: jon on May 29, 2008 at 4:52 AM | PERMALINK

Here is a listing of all of Bush’s Executive Orders. Some aren’t so bad – designating striped bass and red drum fish as endangered species seems O.K. I think Obama should have said “review” all Executive Orders issued by Bush and rescind those that are retarded and counterproductive – or words to that effect….

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on May 29, 2008 at 5:52 AM | PERMALINK

:)

Posted by: Sean on May 29, 2008 at 6:38 AM | PERMALINK

Such campaign fluff. (Unintentionally) great article on the front page of the Washington Post today about how Barry has been "slow to embrace specific policy proposals" seeking instead to focus on "transformational dialogue." 19 paragraphs which could just as easily be summed up with "He's got no specific plans of any kind" he's focusing instead on style and image. They even interview his "policy director" some unknown woman who comes up with one thing Obama wants to work on. I'm quoting here, "education."

Posted by: Pat on May 29, 2008 at 6:39 AM | PERMALINK

Pure Fluff.
All new Presidents review former Executive Orders. There are Executive Orders going back to Nixon still in place. Most if not all are constitutional.

What he is really saying, is the political sensitive ones will be changed, like funding family planning agencies that also provide abortion counseling.

Posted by: Jon A. on May 29, 2008 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

Who cares what Clinton would do - she isn't going to be the nominee. The appropriate comparator is what would McCain do in his first 100 days of office?

Posted by: Andy on May 29, 2008 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

I see a lot of sour grapes on this thread. Obama announces something concrete he's going to do and it's an excuse for dismissing it as fluff, meaningless, etc. Hard to tell whether it's Clinton deadenders or McCain deadenders doing the complaining I guess. On the subject of Clinton: she agrees with the extensions of executive power, and she wouldn't change those. Obama really does have a much stronger civil liberties record than "I support the Patriot Act and want to ban violent video games and flag burning" Clinton does.

Posted by: Marc on May 29, 2008 at 8:14 AM | PERMALINK

ALERT: Bush planning to sabotage the next Presidency and make sure we're so mired in war that we'll never get out of it. "NEW YORK - The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently" [http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JE28Ak01.html].

It really worked well in Iraq didn't it?

"''Iraq War May Have Increased Energy Costs Worldwide by a Staggering $6 Trillion''"
"The invasion of Iraq by Britain and the US has trebled the price of oil, according to a leading expert, costing the world a staggering $6 trillion in higher energy prices alone. The oil economist Dr Mamdouh Salameh, who advises both the World Bank and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), told The Independent on Sunday that the price of oil would now be no more than $40 a barrel, less than a third of the record $135 a barrel reached last week, if it had not been for the Iraq war" [http://www.alternet.org/story/86515/].

Posted by: Alert on May 29, 2008 at 8:19 AM | PERMALINK

ALERT: Bush planning to sabotage the next Presidency and make sure we're so mired in war that we'll never get out of it. "NEW YORK - The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently" http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/JE28Ak01.html.

It really worked well in Iraq didn't it?

"''Iraq War May Have Increased Energy Costs Worldwide by a Staggering $6 Trillion''"
"The invasion of Iraq by Britain and the US has trebled the price of oil, according to a leading expert, costing the world a staggering $6 trillion in higher energy prices alone. The oil economist Dr Mamdouh Salameh, who advises both the World Bank and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), told The Independent on Sunday that the price of oil would now be no more than $40 a barrel, less than a third of the record $135 a barrel reached last week, if it had not been for the Iraq war" http://www.alternet.org/story/86515/.

Posted by: Alert on May 29, 2008 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Excellent, but even better would be to MAKE PUBLIC each and every executive order whether they are legitimate or not. All that exposure will help people realize the scale of the abuses and the scope of the damage done in the last eight years. Transparency and sunlight will help the public set the agenda for what needs to be overcome and rectified in the first years of the Obama administration.

Posted by: Nisan Chavkin on May 29, 2008 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't know he had a legal background so I wonder if he ever practiced law or just taught it? He doesn't strick me as someone who has ever done trial stuff.

Posted by: Me-again on May 29, 2008 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Considering GWB thinks the US Constitution is just a "go--am piece of paper," I suppose that there may be quite a few EOs for OB to look at.

But then again, we shouldn't misunderestimate Bush's desire for dictatorial powers! :-)

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on May 29, 2008 at 8:28 AM | PERMALINK

Good grief - such a caustic climate. The man could announce a cure for cancer, and still he'd be attacked for 'pandering to get the sick vote'.

Posted by: Tony on May 29, 2008 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

So, I imagine you'll have the post-it reminder right there on your desk so you'll REMEMBER this "promise"! Cause it would be loverly!!!! And, I'm sure Obama isn't like the "regular" politician who will say things folks like to hear just to get elected...NAH!!! Not like Hillary...that mean, old, nasty, bitch who is just filled with personal ambition and hatefulness...SMILE ON

Posted by: Dancer on May 29, 2008 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Good grief - such a caustic climate. The man could announce a cure for cancer, and still he'd be attacked for 'pandering to get the sick vote'.

I don't know who you think this man is but your expectations might be too high. I don't even think he's taken physical chemistry yet :)

Posted by: asdf on May 29, 2008 at 8:49 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder which ones he feels violate the constitution. If they are the ones I hope they are, I'll smile. Until then, I guess I'll just have to hope...and believe in the change.

Posted by: david on May 29, 2008 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

bmaz for Attorney General!!!!

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 29, 2008 at 8:59 AM | PERMALINK

OK, it's good to have someone on our side who feels they have the expertise to make these judgements but I'd feel better if he said something about convening a constitutional panel and left out the word feel. This off the cuff statement leaves him open to charges of conceit, micromanaging, and incautious exercise of power. And so the talking points evolve.

Posted by: asdf on May 29, 2008 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Wondering if the media will cover this news the way they did his bowling score...

Posted by: Cheryl Rofer on May 29, 2008 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Best not mention prosecution too freely, lest fratboy & the devil decide that coup d'état is the only way out!

Posted by: Captain Dan on May 29, 2008 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Cheryl,

He'd probably get some free air time if he wanted to discuss constitutional law while bowling.

Posted by: B on May 29, 2008 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

asdf,

Defending the Constitution is a President's top priority. It is what he swears to do when he takes the oath of office. Defending the Constitution is something no President should leave exclusively to a "constitutional panel." Leaving the review to a "constitutional panel" smacks of dereliction of duty.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 29, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Once again, Obama's inexperience shows. President Obama will need more than 100 days to undo Bush's executive orders!

Posted by: AbbeFaria on May 29, 2008 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

"exclusively"

Who said that? I would simply suggest 1) getting advice from more people 2) not have it filtered through his AG, and 3) have some sort of professional opinion written up and released to public that backs up any further steps that are taken.

He could interact or be a part of the panel if he wanted.

Posted by: asdf on May 29, 2008 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

People. What impressed me about this was the fact that while a lot of things he also mentioned (click the link) would have been on anyone's agenda (health care, Iraq), this was apparently the first thing he mentioned. It doesn't mean he'll do it, but it does mean that it's something he comes up with spontaneously.

And if anyone thinks the Constitutional Law lobby is sufficiently powerful that this can be put down to pandering, s/he must live in a different country than I do.

Also: if we're going to start dinging people for saying "feel" in this context -- in response to a question, not as part of a written script -- we might as well just welcome our robot overlords now, since no actual human being will live up to our standards.

Posted by: hilzoy on May 29, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

There Hilzoy goes again... pandering to the literate people with his(her?idon'tknow) verbs and predicate nominatives. Politics as usual!

/you cynical commenters are dicks/

Posted by: absent observer on May 29, 2008 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

How does the President "overturn laws"?

Posted by: david on May 29, 2008 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

b: Cheryl, He'd probably get some free air time if he wanted to discuss constitutional law while bowling.

He'd have to do keep throwing gutter balls. If he actually hit some pins, the cameras would stop rolling.

Posted by: thersites on May 29, 2008 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

I like and respect John Dean a lot

I don't. Making a 35-year career off Watergate isn't admirable in my book, and practically every word he's written is cringe-inducingly self-serving and clumsily revisionist. (He does better in interviews, I concede.) I wish we could stop lauding assholes just because they happen to be on our side now. Isn't it enough to endorse their current views without pretending they're good guys?

but a convicted felon, especially one that was convicted for crimes committed in the course and scope of national governmental duty, is not the right person for AG. Where do people come up with this stuff? Simply amazing.

I'm guessing that poster is just really young or hasn't read much about Watergate.

Posted by: shortstop on May 29, 2008 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm from the federal government and I'm here to help you."
Hook, line and sinker.

Posted by: steve duncan on May 29, 2008 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK
How about establishing a war crimes tribunal-- headed by patrick fitzgerald-- that would investigate: war profiteering, crimes against humanity (torture), treason (lying us into war), violations of the fourth amendment, etc. etc.

Why should we emulate the abuses of the Bush Administration and establish a special tribunal to address offenses for which we have regularly established laws which are designed to be enforced through the regularly established courts? If those offenses need investigated—and I agree they do—that just needs to be another priority Obama lays out for John Edwards. I mean, "his Attorney-General".

Posted by: cmdicely on May 29, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

David, signing statements and Executive Orders are not laws. The President can overturn them as he wishes.

If you've been following this, signing statements are what Biush uses when he doesn't want to follow or enforce laws Congress has passed.

I'd like to see a Constitutionality challenge on the existence of signing statements before the Supremes.They are NOT mentioned in the Constitution, and the exclusion of powers clause probably doesn't allow them. A reasonably intelligent Court would find them unconstitutional.

Posted by: CN on May 29, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

How does the President "overturn laws"?

If he's George W. Bush, by directing Executive Branch agencies not to enforce, by de-staffing the enforcement divisions, and by issuing signing statements that state that he disagrees with this particular law and has no intention of abiding by it.

And often, by simply defying it.

Posted by: joel hanes on May 29, 2008 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

steve duncan:

How about "I'm running the Executeive Branch of the Federal Government now, and I'm here to try and undo the damage of the crooked gang that was running the show before."

A bit more accurate, perhaps?

But I'll dissasemble your straw man and spread the remains over the potato patch. Thanks.


Posted by: thersites on May 29, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, I don't think I buy the "I'm from the federal government and I'm here to help you" line any more. It is a better line than "the government doesn't work and I am here to prove it." If you don't believe me ask the victims of Katrina.

While I agree John Dean would be a lousy choice for AG, I don't see the problem with John Edwards. Criminal law technicians are seldom appointed AG. It is a political job. What we are looking for in AG is somebody with a good feeling for right and wrong, an understanding of government, and the ability to lead an organization. Edwards was a successful trial lawyer which means he really lead a successful law firm. He knows the difference between right and wrong. He has a good understanding of government. I think he would be a pretty good choice.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 29, 2008 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Thersites: He'd have to do keep throwing gutter balls. If he actually hit some pins, the cameras would stop rolling.

And, now that I've done my round of the newspapers, it looks like this one isn't being picked up either.

Posted by: Cheryl Rofer on May 29, 2008 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK
How does the President "overturn laws"?

By refusing to enforce acts of Congress that are appear contrary to the Constitution (this isn't actually "overturning laws" in a technical sense, since the President is essentially saying that the Act of Congress fails to be a law because it is prohibited by a higher law; OTOH, if the putative law has been previously enforced it is a kind of de facto law, and Obama wasn't writing a dissertation for a technical legal audience, he was making a campaign speech and trying to communicate with people for whom elaborating the technicalities would be obfuscatory.)

This can, of course, produce litigation if other people believe the Act is Constitutional, but in many cases its very hard to find anyone except the Congress, acting together through a majority vote of both houses, that would have standing to sue. If you have a Democratic Congress (or even one House in Democratic hands) that seems unlikely if Obama has a decent case for the particular putative laws he seeks to undo, unless you have the kind of extreme intraparty conflict seen in, say, the early days of the first term of the Clinton Administration, but kicked up several notches. I don't imagine that happening, though I suppose putting Hillary Clinton in a leadership position could encourage it.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 29, 2008 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

Big deal!! Hillary said she'd take the Constitution out of cold storage before the Texas primary. As usual, Obama is late to the game

Posted by: jojo on May 29, 2008 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

jojo,

Who said it first is, at this point, beside the point. We have serious presidential candidates saying it. One of them is going to be the nominee and, we hope, the next President.

Posted by: thersites on May 29, 2008 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

How long-lasting are Bush's legislative "Signing Statements," those rediculous, ex post facto Presidential interpretations he appends to hundreds of pieces of just-passed legislation that basically re-interprets the laws as Bush sees fit?

If Obama could end the practice of Signing Statements that would bring our democracy forward 100 years. Are Signing Statements even Constitutional?

If Obama wins and follows through on this he's going to have to suit up a 30-man varsity team of lawyers to untangle the grand mess Bush has made of the Presidency.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on May 29, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Jojo, to reiterate my earlier point, what Hilary says or said doesn't matter anymore, because she isn't going to be the nominee.

Posted by: Andy on May 29, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how Mr. Obama plans to overturn statutes that he believes are unconstitutional? Is he proposing simply to not enforce them? I believe that the left screamed bloody murder when President Bush suggested he might do the same thing with statutes he thought were unconstitutional.

pj - Of course signing statements are constitutional. They are merely the president's view of the statute, which has no more or less weight, if and when a court is called upon to determine the validity or interpretation of a statute, than a congressional committee report. I've never understood why people get so uptight about them, and not about random statements inserted into the Congressional record by Congressmen or Senators who are trying to influence some future court's interpretation of a statute. Sheesh, get a life.

Posted by: DBL on May 29, 2008 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Kerry for AG (former prosecutor). Fitz for special prosecutor.

Posted by: Repack Rider on May 29, 2008 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't know he had a legal background so I wonder if he ever practiced law or just taught it? He doesn't strick me as someone who has ever done trial stuff.

You know, you should probably read up on the candidates a little before you make a decision about who to vote for. Here's a start for you.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 29, 2008 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how Mr. Obama plans to overturn statutes that he believes are unconstitutional?

Presumably by vetoing them when they cross his desk, which is what Bush should have been doing all along rather than signing them and then issuing signing statements that essentially said, "Nyah-nyah, I had my fingers crossed behind my back when I said I would enforce that law! Suckers!"

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 29, 2008 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

By refusing to enforce acts of Congress that are appear contrary to the Constitution

Um, what???? You mean if it appears to a President that, oh, say, the FISA law is unconstitutional, he can "refuse to enforce" it? Howabout a court determines that it is unconstitutional before the President refuses to enforce it.

Obama's statement that he would "overturn those laws [...] that I feel violate the constitution" is extremely problematic, especially coming from a law professor. I hope that it was just a slip of the tongue and he really just meant executive orders.

Posted by: Jack on May 29, 2008 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Bush uses signing statements as decrees using his bogus authority as unitary executive to affirm his "right" to ignore law. As Himself has pouted, "I'm the president; the Constitution is just a piece of paper."

Not that there is much respect for law anymore. It's cafeteria compliance nowadays. All the candidates are totally corrupt on illegal infiltration, for example, as are most progressives. "Progressive" means returning to the era of pre-civilization and discarding rule of law in favor of political correctness, which has a much higher priority to progressives.

Posted by: Luther on May 29, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Amen! This country has completely skidded off the rails for the last 8 (or perhaps 30) years.

Posted by: anon on May 29, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Obama's statement that he would "overturn those laws [...] that I feel violate the constitution" is extremely problematic, especially coming from a law professor

So you would prefer that he had dilated on these ideas to say "and I will direct the Attorney General to seek strong cases with which the Justice Department can challenge these laws, so that the courts can rule upon their constitutionality" ?

It's what I assumed that he meant.

What would you assume that he meant?
I can't find another plausible construction that accords with the rest of his remarks and positions of record.

Posted by: joel hanes on May 29, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Luther: "Progressive" means returning to the era of pre-civilization and discarding rule of law in favor of political correctness,

Me like political correctness.

Posted by: conan the barbarian, aka thersites on May 29, 2008 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

**

Posted by: mhr on May 29, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Progressive" means returning to the era of pre-civilization and discarding rule of law in favor of political correctness, which has a much higher priority to progressives.
Posted by: Luther on May 29, 2008 at 11:28 AM

That is the silliest statement I have read in weeks. It betrays a lack of understanding of "progressives" ordinarily only displayed by Sean Hannity.

Prove your sweeping assertion, Luther.

By the way Luther have you heard how "progressive" super star Michelle Malkin forced Dunkin Donutes to drop a perfectly innocent television ad because she thought the donut seller was wearing a "Muslim" scarf around her neck. Talk about political correctness gone wild.

Posted by: Ron Byers on May 29, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Not like Hillary...that mean, old, nasty, bitch who is just filled with personal ambition and hatefulness...

Dancer, I would never use those words to describe Hillary. Those words do however perfectly describe her husband.

Posted by: keith g on May 29, 2008 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I asked "how does the President overturn laws?"
because Obama said,
"I would call my attorney general in and review every single executive order issued by George Bush and overturn those laws or executive decisions that I feel violate the constitution,"
Since he is the "former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School" who, in Hilzoy's estimation, has considered the issue and determined it a high enough priority to be "apparently the first thing he mentioned" (which makes us smile), I thought there might be some mechanism by which he could "overturn those laws" of which I am unaware.

Posted by: david on May 29, 2008 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Dunkin Donutes" - Ron Byers.

So Ron, ya been taking typing lessons from Thersites I see. Have you had a chance to try his bronze keyboard yet?

Posted by: optical weenie on May 29, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Conan no like newfangled bronze keyboard. Conan use wolf tooth to punch holes in leaf, feed into USB 2.0 leaf reader.

But I disagree with Ron in one particular. Sean Hannity's misunderstaning is deliberate. Luther seems to be sincerely dumb as a stump.

Posted by: conan the barbarian, aka thersites on May 29, 2008 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised at the glee generated by this Obama statement. Considering that anything that violates the constitution is a crime, you'd think Obama might not just reverse the criminal activity but order his attorney to investigate and prosecute those involved. But no, Obama doesn't go THAT far. He'd just reverse the crimes. What about Guantanamo and it's extra-legal status as an interminable internment camp? You'd think he'd list that one at or near the top of any list which one might think of as unconstitutional. But then maybe, as the Republicans say about war crimes, "reasonable people can disagree" on the constitutionality of imprisoning people forever without charge. I guess Obama will have to deliberate on that one. Not the sort of bold statement he'd want to make at this point I guess.

And we're talking about executive orders. He doesn't have to consider their constitutionality to reverse them. As the executive he can reverse them simply because he is .. ah .. the executive. But Obama won't go that far. Oh no, that would be too much to expect. Say protect some of the national forests, etc. that Bush has made open for big business abuse? Again, only if it was unconstitutional would Obama consider reversing the Bush policy.

Simply put, this Obama statement, though it may sound grand and representative of a great defender of America and the constitution, is actually completely minimalist. Obama might want to trademark that consistent quality of his words.

Posted by: Amos Anan on May 29, 2008 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Amos, how many days has it been since you pooped?

Posted by: on May 29, 2008 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

By itself, sufficient to vote for the man. Bravo!

Posted by: Stuart Eugene Thiel on May 29, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Since he is the "former constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School" who, in Hilzoy's estimation, has considered the issue and determined it a high enough priority to be "apparently the first thing he mentioned" (which makes us smile), I thought there might be some mechanism by which he could "overturn those laws" of which I am unaware.

I'm freshly astounded at the level of paranoia exhibited by the anti-Obama crowd. All we know about Obama is that he has a background in constitutional and civil rights law, so clearly that's proof that HE WILL NAME HIMSELF DICTATOR FOR LIFE!!11!!

Seriously, get a grip.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on May 29, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mnemosyne,
Us folks at PA know that there is no way BO can name himself dictator for life - Inkblot already has that position covered.

Posted by: optical weenie on May 29, 2008 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Conan use wolf tooth to punch holes in leaf, feed into USB 2.0 leaf reader. - Thersites

Where can I buy the leaf reader? This is what I need. I keep losing my USB memory stick. If all I had to do was go out and pick a few leaves my life would be so much more simple.


Posted by: optical weenie on May 29, 2008 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, simmer down, Obama cultists. No one's attacking your hero. I'm just saying that in an ideal world it would be nice to have some freaking policy specifics from the guy before he assumes the most powerful job on earth. You know, aside from saying he's going to do what every single President in modern times has done -- review the executive orders of his prececessor. But that's just me. For others, the pretty speeches are enough. Enjoy your marshmellow fluff. I suspect the shelf life's not going to be as long as you hope.

Posted by: Pat on May 29, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK
... it would be nice to have some freaking policy specifics from the guy before he assumes the most powerful job on earth.

Try using The Google. If you do, you just might find this site here that can help you.

Now, you apparently want everything spoon fed to you so you don't have to, you know, make an actual effort to educate yourself. But in this case, you will have to do a bit of reading all on your own. There are some big words, but if you have a dictionary nearby, you should be okay.

(Sorry for the snark, but this canard of "Obama has no specifics!" can only be made by the willfully obtuse or the clinically stupid. The info has been there for months.)

Posted by: Mark D on May 29, 2008 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK
Um, what???? You mean if it appears to a President that, oh, say, the FISA law is unconstitutional, he can "refuse to enforce" it?

Not only can he, he has an affirmative obligation to do so, since an act of Congress that exceeds its Constitutional power is not a law, while the Constitution is the law, and the President takes an oath to "preserve, protect, and defend" the Constitution, and has an express Constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws. A successive Congress would be, in extreme cases, well within its rights to impeach a President for failing to carry out this duty.


Howabout a court determines that it is unconstitutional before the President refuses to enforce it.

This (1) is inappropriate, because the President has a duty to uphold the Constitution independent of any action by the courts, his duty is not to uphold the Constitution only when the courts compel him to, (2) is undesirable in many cases, because giving someone standing to sue to create a case in the courts usually requires that they be concretely harmed by the application of the unconstitional law; it would often be better to avoid that and leave the Congress to sue if it can get its act together than to harm people by exercising power not granted to the government by the people in the first place, which is what executing an unconstitutional law is.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 29, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Hey, simmer down, Obama cultists."

Where? I don't see any here.

Posted by: Harold on May 29, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK
Considering that anything that violates the constitution is a crime, you'd think Obama might not just reverse the criminal activity but order his attorney to investigate and prosecute those involved.

Many things that violate the Constitution are not crimes, at least in the sense of "things that violate criminal statutes and are, consequently, prosecutable and punishable under criminal law". Its arguable that anything that violates the Constitution is, when committed by an impeachable official, a "crime" in the sense of "high crimes and misdemeanors" justifying impeachment, but that's a different sense of "crime". One can only prosecute crimes that violate criminal statutes which many things that violate the Constitution do not.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 29, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Harold, meet Mark.

It's so much of a canard, Mark, that the Washington Post did a front page article on it today.

Posted by: Pat on May 29, 2008 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

And by the way, Mark, saying "We need universal healthcare" under the bold title "Universal Healthcare" in a three-color booklet is not exactly specific, and it's not exactly a plan. I say it all the time. Can I be President too?

Hey, sorry for the snark, but someone who thinks Obama has been specific about any policy proposal is either willfully obtuse or clinically stupid. Or involved a cult of personality.

Posted by: Pat on May 29, 2008 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's cheap and easy to spout mindless cynicism Pat - when you're not insulting people by calling them cultists. Your crappy candidate lost. Deal with it.

Posted by: Marc on May 29, 2008 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

This link will get you to a 15-page PDF file entitled "Barack Obama's Plan for a Healthy America", including three pages of footnotes. (You can tell from that that he's a lawyer.)
http://www.barackobama.com/issues/pdf/HealthCareFullPlan.pdf
Here's an eleven-page energy plan.
http://www.barackobama.com/issues/pdf/EnergyFactSheet.pdf

Posted by: OriGuy on May 29, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Flying canards! Duck!

Posted by: thersites the foul-mouthed loser on May 30, 2008 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Squeaky, Dear Leader is the least qualified serious Presidential candidate in modern American history.

My question: If you're not supporting him for his exprience or accomplishments (which you couldn't be, because there aren't any.) And you're not supporting him for his policy proposals (which you couldn't be because, as todays Washington Post front page makes clear, he hasn't made more than vague pronouncements), where does all the fervor come from? Why so bright-eyed excited? It can only come from his image and speaking style. Which I happily admit are impressive. But that, my friends, like it or not, is the textbook definition of a cult of personality.

You may return to your North Korean slogan chanting now. YES! WE! CAN!

Posted by: Pat on May 30, 2008 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

How does the President "overturn laws"?

He calls John Yoo.

Posted by: ogmb on May 30, 2008 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK
where does all the fervor come from? Why so bright-eyed excited? It can only come from his image and speaking style. Which I happily admit are impressive. But that, my friends, like it or not, is the textbook definition of a cult of personality.

--Pat

Perhaps you can show me the "fervor" you accuse me of, or even the "bright-eyed" excitement. I must have missed it.

As far as the rest of your comment, let's see here ...

You said Obama had no specifics.

I posted a link to a page that has those specifics.

How the hell does that make me a member of a cult? Just because the link I posted doesn't meet whatever amorphous standard you have set doesn't mean those specifics don't exist. They're out there, and you've chosen to ignore them because otherwise your argument falls apart.

Even better, you obviously didn't even bother reading it since it's 15 pages long, not just a short blurb. So you obviously don't give a shit about specifics and just wanted to toss out whatever the Clinton/McCain "Let's See if This Sticks" Talking Point du jour is.

I guess that makes you willfully obtuse, doesn't it?

The simple fact is, I was a Richardson/Edward supporter who, when given a choice between Clinton or Obama, chose the one I'd prefer to have running things.

I think his health plan is too weak, am pretty confident his message of "I'll change Washington!" is nice but probably out of his control (although worth the effort, to be sure) and find his even temperament the type of person we need running things after seven years of idiotic and reactionary governance.

No fervor there. Just a choice I made given the available evidence. Why is that so hard for you to understand? Why does it seem so odd that given a choice between a woman with less actual elected experience, and a guy who has a lot of time in office with very few accomplishments, I chose the middle ground? Seemed like the sensible choice.

I mean, if that makes me a cultist, well ... what the hell ever.

And besides, for someone who blabs on and on about specifics, all you manage to do is toss around insults rather than offering anything of substance. Nothing. Just easily debunked and lacking-in-reality blurbs that attack anyone who dare think differently than you.

So not only do you choose to be ignorant, you're a flaming hypocrite as well.

Nicely done.

Posted by: Mark D on May 30, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

So rather than look ahead and get to work, Obama plans to start out his administration reveling in Blaming Bush. Yeah, that's inspiring. That's NOT just pandering to the faithful by telling them what he knows they want to hear. No, it's a bold plan for the future.

How many states are there, again?

Posted by: Mister Snitch on May 30, 2008 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Great Job Mark D!!
You referred the heretic to the website
and stressed your personal narrative of how you came to Obama. You have come so fare since basic training. I am very proud of you.

Posted by: Marshall Ganz on May 31, 2008 at 4:31 AM | PERMALINK

"I FEEL violate the constitution". This is pretty funny. No doubt both Cheney and Bush respect everything they FEEL the constitution stands for. The lesson learned is that we can't really count on the executive to pick and choose the limits of its power.

Posted by: Shock Mouse on June 4, 2008 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: baxadoppy on June 13, 2008 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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