Monday, December 19, 2005

Alito endorsed the monarchal president

Bushipod-ViMark Schmitt digs up a 1985 case in which:
The Reagan administration argued … that the attorney general should have absolute immunity whenever he was performing a national security function. This sounds similar to the Yoo theory that the president can do anything whenever he puts on his special "commander-in-chief" hat. The Court rejected that argument, finding that "Petitioner [the government] points to no historical or common-law basis for absolute immunity for officers carrying out tasks essential to national security."
This, on top of the Keith decision I noted earlier, puts the legal argument Bush, et al. have advanced on no ice whatsoever.

It is worth noting that Sam Alito drafted the brief in that case. He did so on behalf of Nixon's attorney general, and could have chosen a less absurd defense than that. He didn't. Expect to hear more about this when his confirmation hearings begin.

Schmitt makes an excellent point, and one worth pondering, that if the commander in chief can violate 4th amendment rights, what's to stop him from stepping on 14th amendment rights, or 2nd amendment rights (to choose two interesting examples)?

What's to stop the commander in chief from simply deciding that you don't deserve that shotgun your daddy gave you when you turned 18? What distinguishes the 4th amendment from the 2nd (and the courts haven't even granted personal gun ownership any clear 2nd amendment status)?

Hell, what distinguishes it from the 1st amendment? Why not bulldoze mosques and muzzle critics?

We live in a nation of laws, and no law gave the president the power to do what he did. He broke the law and deserves to spend 5 years in jail for each person he illegally bugged.