[eDebate] all star ABA legal team to carve way to bush impeachment
Sun Jun 4 16:01:34 CDT 2006
contact conyers and tell him to link H RES 635 or any reappearce therof to
the findings of the ABA team (without this impeachment hysterical crazy
neocons will complete orchestration of dictatorship):
John.Conyers at mail.house.gov
2426 Rayburn Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-0072 Fax
2615 W. Jefferson
Trenton, MI 48183
(734) 675-4218 Fax
669 Federal Building
231 W. Lafayette
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 226-2085 Fax
Bar group will review Bush's legal challenges
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff ?|? June 4, 2006
WASHINGTON -- The board of governors of the American Bar Association voted
unanimously yesterday to investigate whether President Bush has exceeded his
constitutional authority in reserving the right to ignore more than 750 laws
that have been enacted since he took office.
Meeting in New Orleans, the board of governors for the world's largest
association of legal professionals approved the creation of an all-star
legal panel with a number of members from both political parties.
They include a former federal appeals court chief judge, a former FBI
director, and several prominent scholars -- to evaluate Bush's assertions
that he has the power to ignore laws that conflict with his interpretation
of the Constitution.
Bush has appended statements to new laws when he signs them, noting which
provisions he believes interfere with his powers.
Among the laws Bush has challenged are the ban on torturing detainees,
oversight provisions in the USA Patriot Act, and ``whistle-blower"
protections for federal employees.
GLOBE ARCHIVES: Bush challenges hundreds of laws (4/30)
The challenges also have included safeguards against political interference
in taxpayer-funded research.
Bush has challenged more laws than all previous presidents combined.
The ABA's president, Michael Greco, said in an interview that he proposed
the task force because he believes the scope and aggressiveness of Bush's
signing statements may raise serious constitutional concerns. He said the
ABA, which has more than 400,000 members, has a duty to speak out about such
legal issues to the public, the courts, and Congress.
``The American Bar Association feels a very serious obligation to ensure
that when there are legal issues that affect the American people, the ABA
adopts a policy regarding such issues and then speaks out about it," Greco
said. ``In this instance, the president's practice of attaching signing
statements to laws squarely presents a constitutional issue about the
separation of powers among the three branches."
The signing statements task force, which was recruited by Greco, a longtime
Boston lawyer who served on former Governor William F. Weld's Judicial
Nominating Council, includes several Republicans. Among them are Mickey
Edwards , a former Oklahoma representative from 1977 to 1993, and Bruce Fein
, a Justice Department official under President Reagan.
In interviews, several of the panel members said they were going into the
project with an open mind, but they expressed concerns about Bush's actions.
``I think one of the most critical issues in the country right now is the
extent to which the White House has tried to expand its powers and basically
tried to cut the legislative branch out of its own constitutionally equal
role, and the signing statements are a particularly egregious example of
that," Edwards said. ``I've been doing a lot of speaking and writing about
this, and when the ABA said they were looking to take a position on signing
statements, I said that's serious because those people carry a lot of
Page 2 of 2 --
William Sessions , a retired federal judge who was the director of the FBI
under both Reagan and President George H.W. Bush , said he agreed to
participate because he believed that the signing statements raise a
``serious problem" for the American constitutional system.
``I think it's very important for the people of the United States to have
trust and reliance that the president is not going around the law," Sessions
said. ``The importance of it speaks for itself."
Another member, Patricia Wald, is a retired chief judge of the US Court of
Appeals for the District of Columbia, appointed by President Carter.
She said she had monitored the use of signing statements by previous
administrations, but ``the accelerated use in recent years presents a real
question about separation of powers and checks and balances."
Wald also said she was especially interested in studying how signing
statements affect the federal bureaucracy. As a judge, Wald said, she dealt
with many cases involving challenges to decisions made by administrative
agencies. She said that courts are deferential to such decisions because
they are supposed to be made by objective specialists in the agencies. But a
heavy use of signing statements could call that assumption into question.
?GLOBE ARCHIVES: Bush challenges hundreds of laws (4/30)
``If Congress passes a law telling the people in the bureaucracy that `this
is what you should do,' and the president signs it but attaches a statement
saying `I don't want you to do it,' how is that going to affect the
motivation of the bureaucracy?" she said.
The task force also includes several prominent legal scholars, such as
Harold Koh , dean of Yale Law School and a former official in the Reagan and
Clinton administrations; Kathleen Sullivan , former dean of Stanford Law
School; Charles Ogletree , a Harvard law professor; and Stephen Saltzburg ,
a professor at George Washington University Law School.
Saltzburg -- who was a Justice Department official under Reagan and the
first president Bush, as well as a prosecutor in the Iran-Contra scandal --
said he did not believe that signing statements were unconstitutional.
But, he said, frequent use of them could create bad perceptions about
whether the US government obeys the rule of law.
``The president can say anything he wants when he signs a bill," Saltzburg
said. ``[But] what does it say about respect for the Constitution and for
the notion of checks and balances to have the president repeatedly claim the
authority not to obey statutes, which he is signing into law?"
Rounding out the panel are Mark Agrast , a former legislative counsel for
Representative William D. Delahunt , Democrat of Quincy, and Thomas Susman,
who worked in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel under both
Presidents Johnson and Nixon , and was later counsel to the Senate Judiciary
Susman said he agreed to serve out of intellectual curiosity: ``I think it's
a fascinating subject," he said. The task force is chaired by Neal Sonnett ,
a former federal prosecutor. Earlier this year, Sonnett chaired a similar
ABA panel of bipartisan specialists who studied the legality of Bush's
warrantless spying program.
The earlier panel unanimously concluded that Bush should obey a law
requiring warrants for such surveillance, or he should ask Congress to
change the law, rather than simply ignoring it.
In February, the ABA House of Delegates voted overwhelmingly to endorse the
surveillance task force's recommendations, enabling Greco to testify about
the program before Congress.
Sonnett said he planned to run the task force in a similar fashion. The
group will discuss the issues in telephone conference calls. They will also
divide up issues to research for the report that will accompany any of their
recommendations, circulating drafts until they reach a consensus.
The task force will make its recommendation this summer, Greco said, and the
550-member ABA House of Delegates will vote on whether to adopt its findings
at a meeting in August.
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter, Republican of
Pennsylvania, promised to hold a hearing on Bush's use of signing
Specter pledged the action after an article in The Boston Globe described
the scope and details of Bush's assertions concerning the laws in them.
Greco and Sonnett also said the Globe's coverage of signing statements had
persuaded them to launch the task force .
? Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.
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