Monday, February 06, 2006

Gonzales: President can ignore the law

Gonzales Hearing Open Thread IV:
FEINGOLD: Judge Gonzales, I've asked a broader question. I'm asking whether, in general, the president has constitutional authority -- does he at least in theory have the authority to authorize violations of the criminal law when there are duly enacted statutes, simply because he's commander in chief?

FEINGOLD: Does he have that power?

GONZALES: Senator, in my judgment, you phrase it as sort of a hypothetical situation. I would have to know what is the national interest that the president may have to consider.

What I'm saying is, it is impossible to me, based upon the question as you've presented it to me, to answer that question.

I can say is that there is a presumption of constitutionality with respect to any statute passed by Congress. I will take an oath to defend the statutes.

And to the extent that there is a decision made to ignore a statute, I consider that a very significant decision and one that I would personally be involved with, I commit to you on that, and one we would take with a great deal of care and seriousness.
I'd rather hear him say that they would never just decide to break the law.

Guess that's too much to ask.

Conservative Republican Lindsay Graham agrees:
All I’m saying is the inherent authority argument in its application to me seems to have no boundaries when it comes to executive decisions in a time of war, it deals the Congress and courts out, Mr. Attorney General.
It's a shame that I feel obliged to point this out, but Senator Graham thinks that's a bad thing, Mr. Gonzales.