Thursday, November 01, 2007

Bush Throws A Hissy Fit At The Constitution.

Shocking as it may seem, someone evidently needs to give the President a primer on the Constitution. Specifically he needs to be instructed on the role of the President and the Senate regarding the process of nominating candidates to fill certain positions, like Attorney General. Check out what the President told the Heritage Foundation about a possible rejection by the Senate of Mike Mukasey for Attorney General:
If the Senate Judiciary Committee were to block Judge Mukasey on these grounds, they would send a new standard for confirmation that could not be met by any responsible nominee for attorney general. And that would guarantee that America would have no attorney general during this time of war.”
Wow... there can not be an Attorney General confirmed in time of war if Mukasey is not confirmed because he refuses to define waterboarding as torture? Let us see what instruction the Constitution gives in this regard.
[The President]shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law:
Odd... The Presidents assertion that the Senate MUST confirm Mukasey or not be given any alternative seems to be based upon some weird reading of the Constitution which no sane person could follow. There actually does not appear to be any standard specified in the Constitution by which Senators must or must not confirm an appointee. If the Senators decided en masse to vote against Mukasey because they do not like closely cropped graying hair on the next Attorney General, the Senators would be well within their Constitutional rights to reject him. They could, indeed maybe they should, reject Mukasey simply because he is George Bush's initial choice to be Attorney General.

It makes perfect sense that Senators would reject Mukasey if he can not accept be brought to define waterboarding as torture. If it were an American service member being subjected to the treatment we would certainly decry the treatment as torture. Mock executions are deemed to be psychological torture, and waterboarding goes far beyond placing a pistol to a detainees head and pulling the trigger.

By announcing that Mukasey must be confirmed or no other candidate can be, Bush has staked out a position that is his own little reality. He is the ultimate decider, no matter what the Constitution, which he swore to uphold, may say. Would anyone be surprised if, in the future, a legal memo turned up which gave some weird legalistic justification for this preposterous assertion by the President? Some flunky in the Justice Department very well may have already passed along the super secret classified legal opinion laying out the the dubious legal groundwork that in times of war the President has the ultimate authority to install any officer he sees fit in the office of his choosing.

Sorry Mr. President, but you don't get to determine what is or is not a reason for the Senate to reject a nominee. Well... not yet anyway.

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