President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.The arrogance of this posture is off the charts. Bush wants to be a government unto himself, beholden to no one, and his weak-spined Republican cohorts on Capitol Hill are letting him get away with it. Just another reason to make sure that at least one congressional chamber comes under Democratic control after November. Somebody has to restore the balance of powers and the checks and balances that America’s Founding Fathers put in place--before the whole system is too broken to fix.
Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, “whistle-blower” protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.
Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush’s assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty “to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to “execute” a law he believes is unconstitutional.
READ MORE: “Bush’s Imperial Presidency,” by Jim Hightower (AlterNet); “Constitutional Crisis,” by Digby (Hullabaloo).