Member Rara Avis
I'm curious, Denise, how you think you might react if a foreign country landed a few thousand ground troops off the coast of Pennsylvania?
Would you be upset if the President immediately sent in the Marines to stop them, without first consulting congress? Would you be terribly upset if someone on the President's staff said they would ignore Congress if Congress tried to stop the administration from halting the invading forces?
If you don't think you'd be upset at the President under those circumstances, and I can't imagine you would be, then you apparently agree with the President that he should do his job.
Clearly, of course, you just don't agree on exactly what that job is.
Honestly, I'm not too clear on that, either. I'm no more a Constitutional lawyer, Denise, than you are. Why would President Obama feel justified in invoking Executive pejoratives in a matter like this? Why would he be so confident in those pejoratives as to allegedly threaten to ignore Congress, something many Presidents have done in defense of their Constitutional powers?
Beats me. I suppose it's possible those legal experts (which we're not) have opined that Congress already gave its approval when it voted to join the United Nations and accept the responsibilities joining entailed? It might be a NATO thing, I suppose, or a treaty thing with one of our other allies? I can think of many possibilities, some less probable than others, but when push comes to shove I really don't know.
What I do know, however, is that procedures exist to curtail any President who oversteps his Constitutional boundaries. Congress has options to pursue. So, too, does the Judicial branch.
With the incredible level of partisan animosity so prevalent in our country right now, I really can't imagine those procedures not being pursued if there's even a chance in Hell of damaging the current administration.
Parenthetically, if I may, I've been watching a mini-series on The Civil War (which seems, sometimes, like it might be the ONLY time partisan animosity has exceeded today's standards).
How many knew that President Lincoln effectively declared war and called for 75,000 troops three months before Congress could convene? Did anyone know that Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and had thousand of Northern political opponents arrested? Including dozens of newspaper editors and publishers? When the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court officially declared Lincoln's suspension unconstitutional, Lincoln and the military ignored Chief Justice Taney. There was even rumors of arresting the Chief Justice? Lincoln went on to extend the scope of the habeas suspensions and continued them for another two years, ending the illegal maneuver only when Congress passed the Habeas Corpus Act of 1863. Lincoln's real coup de grace to our Constitution was his arrest of the Maryland Legislature to prevent them from voting for secession.
West Virginia (Union) was carved out of Virginia (Confederate). One of the most outspoken members of the Democratic Party opposition, Congressman Clement L. Vallandigham of Ohio, was arrested, tried, convicted, and eventually deported (to Tennessee?). The mayor of Baltimore and Congressman Henry May were imprisoned. Private citizens in the states bordering the Confederacy were disarmed, in violation of the Second Amendment, and suffered widespread confiscation of private property. The list goes on and on.
Historian Lee Kennett wrote in "Marching Through Georgia" that if the Confederates had won the Civil War they would have been justified in "stringing up President Lincoln and the entire Union high command" as war criminals.
Yet, today, Abraham Lincoln is widely regarded as the greatest American to ever sit in the Oval Office. It's both regrettable and ironic, in my opinion, but it seems we have always been more interested in this country in results than in method. Some day, I suspect, that will cost us dearly. Some day, I fear, it will cost us everything.