Saturday, April 08, 2006
Reductio Ad Dictatorem
From Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin
Friday, April 07, 2006
Reductio Ad Dictatorem JB
Attorney General Gonzales' admitted on Thursday that President Bush believed that he could legally spy on American citizens' phone calls and e-mails occurring solely within the United States. .... The latest revelation shows that the President's theory all along has been radical, unreasonable, and dangerous. The President's view is that because he is fighting a war against terrorist organizations, any persons that he believes are allied with those organizations against whom country is fighting should be treated according to the rules that apply to war, and not to the rules that apply to the U.S. citizens generally (including but not limited to the protections of the Bill of Rights). ...
The central problem with the President's argument is that he (or his subordinates) get to decide whether or not a person is associated with a terrorist organization (or associated with an organization associated with a terrorist organization) without having to justify this decision to anyone else. As a result, he can withdraw an American citizen from the ordinary protections of the Bill of Rights (and statutory protections like those in FISA) merely by his own say so.... This theory, taken to its logical conclusions, gives the President the ability to treat anyone living in the United States, including particularly U.S. citizens, as wartime enemies without having to prove their disloyalty to anyone outside the executive branch. In so doing, it offers him what can only be called dictatorial powers...
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