Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What's this?

I don't know, it seems kind of weird for Congress to be asking the Attorney General what powers the President believes Congress has when it comes to making war. Also, rough to type and re-read.

On the other hand, this is a nice antidote to the Unitary Executive Theory favoured by Cheney:
Of course, the Constitution reserves to the Congress the power to “declare war” in Article I, section 8. In addition to the so-called power of the purse, the Constitution provides a number of specific powers to Congress. In particular, the Constitution provides that Congress shall have the power to “provide for the common Defence,” “to define and punish . . . Offenses against the Law of Nations,” “to make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water,” “to raise and support Armies,” “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 . . . 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,” 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.”

Contrast these extensive provisions and powers with that of the President, who is designated the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”
On a related note, it's worth pointing out that, per the Constitution, the United States has no "Commander in Chief." Look at it right there -- the President is Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy. Hell, an ultra-literal reading of the Constitution would imply an Air Force officer has no CinC. (Somebody call Scalia!)

A semantic difference, but an important one. An American citizen -- one not wearing the uniform of the armed services -- has no commander. That's why we call them citizens, after all.

This kills me:
Dwight Eisenhower, a real general, knew that the salute is for the uniform, and as president he was not wearing one. An exchange of salutes was out of order.
You read that right: Eisenhower, aka "Supreme Allied Commander, European Theatre" refused to return salutes as a civilian leader. And rightly so.

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