Obama May Use Questionable Executive Power, Stop Questionable Executive Power


Last month, while still under Democratic control, Congress included the detainee transfer restrictions — which would make it harder for the administration to achieve its goal of closing the prison at the military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — in a major defense bill it sent to Mr. Obama. He could act on the measure by the end of the week.

One provision bars the military from using its funds to transfer detainees to the United States, making it harder to prosecute them in federal court. Another prohibits the transfer of detainees to any other country unless the defense secretary, Robert M. Gates, certifies that the country has met a strict set of security conditions.

Good work! Let's lose the rule of law. We should be able to go to other people's countries, round up any brown man or child who looks suspicious, and bring them over to this hemisphere in slave ships to live in shackles.

But what about a signing statement?

If Mr. Obama were to issue such a statement, it could represent a more aggressive use of unilateral executive powers than what he exerted in his first two years in office.

Is a one-time abuse of power acceptable, to bring an end to worse abuses of power? No. Because that could spell the end of abusing power, and abusing power is fun. [NYT]


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