Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Geoffrey Stetson: Bush Vs the Constitution

Bush Vs the Constitution

By Geoffrey Stetson

In the ongoing debate about whether the President has violated the Constitution, US and International laws and treaties in the performance of his duties I sought to clarify the issues by actually listing the Articles in question and comparing them to the Presidents actions as well as noting International law and treaty decisions as a means of determining if any violations have in fact taken place in order to create a more public examination and discussion of said issues.

. First let us take a brief examination of the Constitution.

The Constitution itself is composed of seven Articles, the first three of which contain most of the items of contention.

Article 1: details the duties of the legislature (The House and

Article ll: details the duties of the executive (The President)

Article lll: details the duties of the judicial (The Courts)

Examination of the oath of office of the President

Article ll (The Executive) section 1
Clause (7)

Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:-“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and to the best of my abilities, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

It is from this oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution that most of the issues arise, in that he usurps powers delegated to the other branches of government using as his justification Congressional authorization to use force to protect the United States given immediately after 9/11, from which he feels he needs no further input from the legislature or the courts and indeed that they may not constrain him.

Examination of some of the powers reserved to the legislative branch.

Article 1 (The Legislature) Section 7
(10) To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the laws of nations;
(11) To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
(12) To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
(13) To provide and maintain a navy;
(14) To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
(15) To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions.

In the absence of even a declaration of war the President has without advice or consent of Congress used his authorization to use force to re write the rules of war unilaterally by ignoring our obligations under the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions.

He has had legal documents prepared authorizing torture in violation of US and International law.

He has authorized secret prisons around the world where people kidnapped off the streets in violation of US and International law are taken and subjected to torture without judicial review.

He has authorized military commissions to use information gained under torture to be used as evidence against the detained and others in trials that could bring the death penalty.

He has illegally authorized people to be detained indefinitely without charge or council or the right to Habeas Corpus to challenge the legality of their detention in Federal court.

He illegally diverted money and troops from Afghanistan to begin his campaign against Saddam Hussein and Iraq before going to Congress for permission while the hunt for Osama Bin Ladin was at its height possibly allowing his escape.

In one of their last actions as the majority party the Republicans passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 which retroactively protected those people who would otherwise have been guilty of the offence of torture, in effect tacitly agreeing that torture had taken place; why else enact legislation to immunize those parties?

An obscure provision of the Military Commissions act also removed the National Guard from the control of the Congress and the Governors of the 50 States and placed them under the control of the President should he alone decide that an emergency exists, a very dangerous proposition for democracy, bringing us one step closer to a dictatorship and one objected to by all the Governors and expressly not intended for the Executive under Article 1 section 7 Clause (15) (The militia is the National guard now)

He lied and caused others to lie to the US Congress and the United Nations about the justification for war with Iraq and proceeded unilaterally without the required UN authorization that he requested and was denied and in violation of US law specifically 18 USC Sec 371- conspiring to defraud the United States, by obstructing or interfering with another branch of government by deceit.

Examination of the some of the powers reserved to the judicial branch.

Article lll (The Judicial) Section 2
(1) The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority; - to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls; - to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction;-to controversies to which the United States shall be a party;- to controversies between two or more States;- between a State and a citizen of another State;- between citizens of different States;- between citizens of the same State claiming land under grants of different States, and between a State, or the citizens thereof, and foreign States, citizens or subjects.

The President through the Justice Department has sought to block the review and oversight in the Federal courts in all cases arising from the so called “war on terror” which they alone define. (See: enemy combatant, a word they made up to skirt the Geneva Conventions.) People are kidnapped, detained, held secretly, denied human rights, tortured, murdered, denied council and the right to the cornerstone of western democracy Habeas Corpus or the right to challenge their detention as legal.

People having been held illegally and released have been unable to gain redress in Federal court because the Executive claims “State Secrets” to have the cases dismissed without a hearing on the facts.

The Military Commissions act also denies Habeas Corpus rights to those held illegally in Guantanamo.

The Courts thusly have been used to subvert justice, to deny relief and expose the judicial system to the distain and ridicule of the civilized world in a power grab disingenuously disguised in the cloak of protecting the American people.

Amendments to the Constitution (The Bill of Rights)

Article lV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.

The President caused the Patriot Act to be rushed through Congress largely unread and as yet untested in the Supreme Court in a naked attempt to subvert the fourth amendment and to lay the ground work for an erosion of our civil rights in a calculated manner during a time of high emotion and fear immediately following 9/11/01 and has continued to use fear as a weapon to bludgeon the citizenry into compliance.

The President has illegally authorized the use of wire taps and the gathering of unknown amounts of information on US citizens with out warrants including but not limited to our phone conversations, phone records, email, on line activity, US Postal mail, bank records, and a virtual sweep of unknown depth of digital information in a process known as data mining, which collects from everyone and sifts through it looking for clues to possible illegal activity, which to date has brought no legitimate terrorism arrests, but which effectively and illegally guts the fourth Amendment.

The Executive has refused to reveal the extent, scope or methods used even under questioning from Congress again using “State Secrets”and national security as a blanket excuse to avoid oversight.

Any citizen attempting to question or criticize these illegal actions is branded as unpatriotic or worse, this of course emulates the Nazi Germany play book preparing a nation for aggressive warfare, the supreme war crime as defined by the Geneva Conventions as this is the war crime from which all others arise.

Clearly the President recognized the authority of the Geneva Conventions of which the United States is a signatory because he had legal opinions prepared in advance to shield himself and others from violations of its provisions.

Clearly the President recognized the authority of the United Nations Charter of which the United States is a signatory because he went to them for permission to invade Iraq and was denied. When the President invaded Iraq anyway Kofi Anan then Secretary General of the United Nations declared the invasion illegal.

Clearly the President recognized the authority of Congress to whom he went for permission to invade Iraq using lies and half truths now exposed, but having gained his invasion no longer respects the authority of Congress in oversight of the war or in explanations of illegal wiretapping.

Clearly the President recognizes the authority of the Courts as he uses dubious legal maneuvers in the avoidance of justice rather than in its furtherance.

The President has violated his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Using lies and fear and the specter of September 11, 2001 he has egregiously, flagrantly, deliberately sought to undermine this foundation of our republic for his own personal aggrandizement and power and wealth and for those of his cronies. He has violated US laws, International laws and treaties at will with no oversight by Congress. He has acted arbitrarily against the will of the American people, the Congress and the opinion of the civilized world at large bringing our nation into disrepute as a pariah, a rogue nation unbound by the rules of human rights and decency. His actions have heightened the danger of terror attacks in America and the world. If these acts of wanton disregard of law do not rise to the level of abuse of power which is the scholarly definition of high crimes and misdemeanors than nothing ever will and our democracy is already over.

Now we return to Article 1 (The legislature)
Sec 2
Clause (5) The House of Representatives shall choose their speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
Sec 3
Clause (6) The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.

Clause (7) Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor or trust under the United States: but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.

Article ll (The Executive) Sec 4
The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office for, and conviction of treason, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Constitutional scholars are in general agreement that the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors is the abuse of power.

You be the judge as it appears our Congress will not act upon the mandate given them in the last election.

Feel free to distribute this widely especially to your members of Congress.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Julian Assange: A Thousand Days In Belmarsh
Julian Assange has now been in the maximum-security facilities of Belmarsh prison for over 1,000 days. On the occasion of his 1,000th day of imprisonment, campaigners, supporters and kindred spirits gathered to show their support, indignation and solidarity at this political detention most foul... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Mauling Of Novak Djokovic
Rarely can the treatment of a grand sporting figure by officialdom have caused such consternation. Novak Djokovic, the tennis World Number One, has always had a tendency to get under skin and constitution, creating a large following of admirers and detractors. But his current treatment by Australian authorities, and his subsequent detention as an unlawful arrival despite being granted a visa to participate in the Australian Open, had the hallmarks of oppression and incompetent vulgarity... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Voices Of Concern: Aussies For Assange’s Return

With Julian Assange now fighting the next stage of efforts to extradite him to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 of which are based on the brutal, archaic Espionage Act, some Australian politicians have found their voice. It might be said that a few have even found their conscience... More>>

Forbidden Parties: Boris Johnson’s Law On Illegal Covid Gatherings

It was meant to be time to reflect. The eager arms of a new pandemic were enfolding a society with asphyxiating, lethal effect. Public health authorities advocated various measures: social distancing, limited contact between family and friends, limited mobility. No grand booze-ups. No large parties. No bonking, except within dispensations of intimacy and various “bubble” arrangements. Certainly, no orgies... More>>

Dunne Speaks: Question Time Is Anything But
The focus placed on the first couple of Question Time exchanges between the new leader of the National Party and the Prime Minister will have seemed excessive to many but the most seasoned Parliamentary observers. Most people, especially those outside the Wellington beltway, imagine Question Time is exactly what it sounds... More>>

Gasbagging In Glasgow: COP26 And Phasing Down Coal

Words can provide sharp traps, fettering language and caging definitions. They can also speak to freedom of action and permissiveness. At COP26, that permissiveness was all the more present in the haggling ahead of what would become the Glasgow Climate Pact... More>>