Cheney: "If the president does it during wartime, it's legal."

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Dec 21, 2008.

  1. Cheney Echoes Nixon: If The President Does It During Wartime, It Is Legal»

    On Fox News Sunday today, host Chris Wallace asked Vice President Cheney, “if the President, during war, decides to do something to protect the country, is it legal?” “I think as a general proposition, I’d say yes,” replied Cheney.

    Cheney went on to defend the administration’s actions over the past eight years:

    CHENEY: There are bound to be debates and arguments from time to time and wrestling back and forth about what kinds of authority is appropriate in any specific circumstances, but I think that what we’ve done has been totally consistent with what the Constitution provides for.

    Watch it:

    Cheney’s answer is eerily reminiscent of former President Richard Nixon’s claim that “when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” Nixon made the comment in his famous interview with David Frost, responding to a question about whether “there are certain situations” in which “the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.”

    Though Cheney thinks the administration’s actions have been “totally consistent with what the Constitution provides for,” numerous courts have ruled that the Bush administration has overstepped the bounds of the Constitution:

    – In June 2004, The Supreme Court dealt a setback to the Bush administration by refusing to endorse the claim that “the government has authority to seize and hold suspected terrorists or their protectors and indefinitely deny them access to courts or lawyers while interrogating them.”

    – In June 2006, the Supreme Court “rolled back the sweeping powers appropriated by the Bush administration in the war on terror, ruling it could not order military trials for Guantánamo detainees without the protections of the Geneva convention and American law.”

    – In August 2006, U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that “the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional, delivering the first decision that the Bush administration’s effort to monitor communications without court oversight runs afoul of the Bill of Rights and federal law.”

    It’s ironic that Cheney’s Nixon comment came during an interview with Chris Wallace, considering that Cheney recently thanked Wallace for defending the Bush administration against comparisons to Nixon.


    WALLACE: This is at the core of the controversies that I want to get to with you in a moment. If the president during war decides to do something to protect the country, is it legal?

    CHENEY: General proposition, I’d say yes. You need to be more specific than that. I mean — but clearly, when you take the oath of office on January 20th of 2001, as we did, you take the oath to support and defend and protect the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    There’s no question about what your responsibilities are in that regard. And again, I think that there are bound to be debates and arguments from time to time, and wrestling back and forth, about what kind of authority is appropriate in any specific circumstance.

    But I think that what we’ve done has been totally consistent with what the Constitution provides for.
  2. Cheney opened the door to a stronger executive branch.
    Biden is afraid of handling that power gained by Cheney.

    So Biden wants to cede that power to Pelosie and Reid and the do nothing Democrats.

    Biden is a real tool.
  3. Well buddy, check your calendar.

    It is still a time of war, which means if Obama decides to, he can abuse power just as much as Bush and Cheney have done.

    First target?

    Can you say executive order to censor right win radio?

    Come on now, either you are with Obama when he takes office during a time of war, or you are against him which makes you a traitor during a time of war...

    I doubt Obama would do it, but payback would really be a bitch to the right wingers "during a time of war" where anything is legal according to Cheney...

  4. Oh grow up.

    We saw FDR go to Congress and get permission to imprison Japanese-Americans. Lincoln suspended habeas-corpus and did in fact jail political opponents. In 1942 we executed 7 German saboteurs after a MILITARY trial-even though two of them were Padilla like American citizens.

    The notion that Bush/Cheney created some unique abridgment of American rights in wartime is laughable. And considering the evil Patriot Act passed with virtual 100% agreement from Dem's (Feinstein and Edwards authored vast portions) it's ridiculous for anyone to believe Obama will be unable to expand similar legislation under similar circumstances. Nor will most Americans with a sense of history much care......

    "Lincoln’s policy of suspension of habeas corpus was not without its foes. Although suspension of habeas corpus was in effect in several border states and in the midwest, Maryland, a border state with strong Confederate sympathies that nevertheless remained with the Union, experienced the most infamous instances of the suspension of habeas corpus.

    During the Civil War era, Maryland’s capital of Baltimore was a thoroughly Southern city. A predominantly slave-supported city, Baltimore’s sympathies lay wholly with its Southern neighbors, and it was taken for granted that the state of Maryland would cede from the Union.

    Maryland did not, however, secede. Lincoln prevented the secession of Maryland with the occupation of Baltimore by Union troops and the imprisonment of Confederate sympathizing state and city leaders under the suspension of habeas corpus. The mayor, city council, and police commissioner of Baltimore were among the first arrested and imprisoned without cause in Fort McHenry; they were soon joined by several members of the state legislature. By replacing the leaders who were Confederate sympathizers, Lincoln effectively quashed the secession movement in Maryland.

    Lincoln’s actions under the suspension of habeas corpus did not go unchallenged. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney overturned the suspension of habeas corpus in his Ex Parte Merryman

    decision. Taney’s order was ignored by Lincoln, and in 1863, under Lincoln’s direction, Congress passed the Habeas Corpus Act of 1863, which ratified the suspension of the right.Interestingly, one of the Baltimore residents arrested during suspension of habeas corpus was Francis Key Howard, editor of the Baltimore Exchange and the grandson of Francis Scott Key, author of The Star Spangled Banner. Howard wrote an editorial criticizing the Lincoln administration’s imprisonment of the city and state officials from Baltimore and Maryland without due process, and soon found himself joining them at Fort McHenry. Ironically, he was imprisoned close to the sight where his grandfather had composed the Star Spangled Banner."

    Good WWll story here:

  5. Good points, Pabst.

    It is ridiculous to blame the administration for supposed constitutional violations based on subsequent Supreme Court decisions. There was no settled procedure for handling detainees, and the administration received congressional authorization. You might as well blame congress for violating the constitution. If anything, liberals should be praising the administration for swallowing poorly reasoned Court decisions that undermined our security during wartime.

    I am sick of hearing the Nixon/Frost colloquy as well. Nixon made the mistake of trying to argue a complex constitutional law issue regarding Separation of Powers during a TV interview with a Brit who had no idea what Nixon was talking about.