Several excellent posts challenge the legality of the President’s exchange of five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo for a U.S. soldier held by the Taliban — see Josh Blackman here, Ilya Somin here (toward the bottom of the post), and especially Tim Sandefur here.Details
the power at stake here – to receive ambassadors – is expressly given to the President in what appear to be mandatory terms (he “shall” receive ambassadors).Details
On Jan 23, less than a week after the president released his changes, the PCLOB released a report which declared the bulk collection of metadata approved by the FISC to be unconstitutional and that the illegal practice ought to be immediately discontinued.Details
While it would be nice if a president could sign an order, wave a wand and return us to our traditional American system of decentralized government, this will never happen.Details
anything that looks like presidential lawmaking should be viewed with constitutional suspicion. Given the precedents being established, why couldn’t a Republican president declare, for example, that he wasn’t going to enforce the capital gains tax or the estate tax for a year?Details
Maybe. It should be bedrock constitutional law of executive power that the President cannot re-write a statute. Simply put, there is no more fundamental principal of separation of powers than that.Details
When Secretary of State John Kerry, apparently irritated by a lack of sleep, gave a snippy and what he thought was an unrealistic reply to a reporter’s question at a London press conference last weekend, he hardly could have imagined the world’s response. Asked whether there is anything Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could do at this relatively late hour to avoid an American invasion, Kerry told an international audience that if Assad gave up whatever chemical weapons his government possesses, the U.S. would forgo an invasion.
But not to worry, Kerry added. Assad is not going to do that, and we will end up invading Syria in order to vindicate President Obama’s threat to do so. For two days, Obama remained silent on this as his arch-nemesis, Russian President Vladimir Putin, grabbed the spotlight and the high moral ground.
Putin, sounding more like a Nobel Peace laureate than the killer he is known to be, offered to broker a deal whereby the Syrian chemical stockpile would be surrendered to the United Nations, the Syrian government could go about defending itself from the al-Qaida-driven effort to take it over, and the U.S. would leave Syria alone.
Obama is generally firm in his belief that he needs to vindicate the threat he made last summer when he was trying to outdo Mitt Romney on sounding tough. It was then that Obama threatened to intervene in the Syrian civil war if chemical weapons were used by the government. Nevertheless, hating the international embarrassment visited upon him when suddenly Putin seems more reasonable than he does, Obama conceded to my Fox News colleague Chris Wallace that the Kerry-inspired and Putin-pushed idea seemed worth considering. And then the Syrian government agreed.Details
President Obama sought and obtained permission from a secret surveillance court to disregard previously enacted restrictions on the domestic, warrantless spying programs of the National Security Agency (NSA), the Washington Post reports.
According to sources cited in the story, in 2011, U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, former chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, issued an order “permitting the agency [NSA] to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its massive databases.”
Also included in the order was an extension of the amount of time the NSA can store the electronic communication data it collects in the United States. Prior to the judge’s decision, such files could be retained for only five years; the limit was pushed back to six years by the terms of the ruling.
The order, the story claims, reversed an “explicit ban” on such unconstitutional searches imposed by the same court in 2008. These restrictions reportedly were “not previously acknowledged.”
A decision of this type would cause immediate and irreparable harm to the Constitution and the right of Americans — and all free people — to be free from unwarranted surveillance by agents of their own government.
What’s more troubling and tyrannical is the fact that none of these changes to exceptions to the Fourth Amendment was ever debated or passed by the people’s elected representatives in Congress. Rather, this fundamental civil liberty was repealed by a judicial appointee at the behest of the very department who sought the expanded authority.Details