President Bush continues to consider himself above the law

Roughly a year after President Bush’s illegal (yet unfortunately still unprosecuted due to Congressional “leaders'” lack of backdone) wiretap program, the President has granted himself the authority to now open mail from and to American citizens without a warrant. Apparently, the whole checks and balances concept doesn’t apply to the current administration.

President Bush has quietly claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans’ mail without a judge’s warrant, the Daily News has learned.

The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reform bill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a “signing statement” that declared his right to open people’s mail under emergency conditions.

That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he had just signed, say experts who have reviewed it.

. . .

“Despite the President’s statement that he may be able to circumvent a basic privacy protection, the new postal law continues to prohibit the government from snooping into people’s mail without a warrant,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the incoming House Government Reform Committee chairman, who co-sponsored the bill.

. . .

Most of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act deals with mundane reform measures. But it also explicitly reinforced protections of first-class mail from searches without a court’s approval.

In this, we learn that President Bush believes he can write law merely by adding on to bills he signs, while simultaneously failing to understand the bills he is signing. For those that don’t know, it is true that with a signing statement additional measures can be added to laws when they are signed. However, it is also true that the Constitution does not give these signing statements any actual legal significance. Historically, signing statements have been used to clarify or limit signed bills, but never to extend them.

Folks who think that judges legislating from the bench are bad should be extremely riled up by this, but I predict that won’t happen. Many will fall back to either “It has no actual legal force” or something effectively equivalent to “He’s trying to protect Americans so it is OK.” Neither of these statements work for me, because President Bush will use this new illegally granted power as if it were really the law, and I only hear that second statement used by people already supporting the President. If a Democrat takes the White House in the next election (scary though that thought is, it currently seems very probable), I can’t see many of the people I know who now say that of President Bush being OK with President {$Whatever_Liberal_Wins}. If the President wants to protect Americans, I think that laws and the Constitution should be more important rather than less important than they used to be. Without our laws and Constitution, we’re not the America we were 10 or 20 (or more) years ago. It makes me agree with this recent comic:


Now I open up the floor for all supporters of President Bush to tell me why I’m wrong.

[tags]President Bush ignores Constitution; creates laws on his own, Legislating from the White House[/tags]