Monday, May 01, 2006

Call for a constitutional convention

This president has been very fond of reserving to himself the right to decide if a law enacted by Congress might be constitutional, and whether or not he should obey it.

He writes signing statements, which have no basis in the Constitution itself, are in fact sort of an ad hoc editorial comment, but have somehow become legitimate through long practice, which is to say, legimate only by virtue of Congress' dereliction of its duty in its longtime toleration of this extra-legal practice.

And when a congressman or senator does object, or even gets a piece of legislation passed (as McCain did when he sponsored his McCain Amendment) specifically admonishing the president as to his conduct in regard to, say, illegal wiretapping, why, the president just writes another signing letter saying he'll think about it, and that's it. The law goes in the dumpster and stays there.

Same thing with the war powers. Theoretically, only Congress can declare war, but the prez, claiming he's the decider, decides that he can do whatever the hell he wants with the armed forces, and Congress can just go whistle.

But check this out:

"War ... should only be declared by the authority of the people, whose toils and treasures are to support its burdens, instead of the government which is to reap its fruits." -- James Madison (1751–1836)

Yeah; that James Madison.

Thomas Jefferson, who knew a thing or two about original intent, thought that We The People should have a Constitutional Convention every twenty years or so, just to keep everybody on their toes.

I think it's about time we had one. And I mean We, The People; not them, the "deciders."

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