Saturday, January 21, 2006

Bigger is not necessarily better.

Alberto Gonzalez, Attorney General of the United States, has transmitted to the Senate Majority leader, Bill Frist, a 44 page defense of the President's illegal program of domestic spying. It raises no new arguments that were not raised in the 5 page justification offered by Wm. E. Moschella, which I dissected in The President and Article II of the Constitution.

Fundamentally, the AG's argument boils down to this one sentence:

“The President has the chief responsibility under the Constitution to protect America from attack, and the Constitution gives the President the authority necessary to fulfill that solemn responsibility.”

But is it true? Let’s just take a peek at the Constitution of the United States.

Article 1 § 8 states:
The Congress shall have Power To … provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; …
• To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;
• To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
• To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
• To provide and maintain a Navy;
• To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
• To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
• To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; … And
• To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.
From the foregoing, one could conclude that the responsibility for protecting America from attack is really Congress’s. The President has a role to play, to be sure. He shall faithfully execute the laws that Congress passes.

Look. When a guy named Big Mitch tells you that bigger is not necessarily better, you gotta believe it.

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

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