Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Battle of the Branches, Round 231

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At SUNY-Stonybrook and American University, I wrote two 50 page thesis' on the Nixon Administration. The first was about the foreign policy challenges of the 1970's and how Nixon's handshake shook the world. The second one questioned whether the Executive Branch and Legislative Branch could work together to appoint Ambassadors while each branch was at war with one another. My thesis was posited that, yes, the country was more important then political points. Ambassadors were nominated from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and passed on the floor of the Senate from 1972 - 1974.

Now we have the Congress going to war with the President over the firing of Judicial Branch officials. The Subpoenas are coming towards the President's staff; The president is standing his ground. This battle is not just about President Bush, but the power of the Executive.

During the Clinton years, the question was always, who can testify against a sitting President? The Democrats laid out their case saying that a functioning President needs both Staff and Secret Service to remain loyal. With these current subpoenas, Senator Levin is saying, "No one should be loyal to a sitting President,"

With Bork, the Senate damaged the ties during the Judicial appointment process. Overtime 2000 damaged the election process. President Bush is leaving in 2009. After 2008, might be a Democrat President and a Republican Congress to challenge him or her. Suppose James Carville or Paul Begala is put on the stand? What if it were Dick Tuck?

My question to you is this, would you push the limit on a Republican President that powers would be lost for a Democratic President? I think most Democrats are hypocrites on this issue, prove me wrong.


  1. You're going to think democrats are hypocrites no matter what, so there's really no point in trying to convince you otherwise. Partisan politicians are always going to be hypocrites to some degree regardless of their party. By the way, congress is not aggressively going after the administration just over some fired prosecutors. This is just the beginning of payback for 6 years of an administration running amok without the slightest bit of accountability and an arrogant contempt for the legislative branch cramping their power. If a little bit of hypocrisy is involved in bringing down this house of cards, so what? It's politics. You expect them to play nice?

  2. Jason, you always yell "Partisanship" when I catch Democrats acting like hypocrites. Yet the same powers and problems the Democrats open up (i.e. Bork, Overtime 2000), you don't expect Republicans to walk through. Hate the administration all you want, but how much power do you want a Democratic President to give away when the positions are reversed?

  3. Yes, the same rules should be applied now and to any future president of either party.

    The president says he won't be able to get good advice unless his advisors know that it is confidential. However, that advice wouldn't need to be confidential if it weren't attempting to perverse justice. (I'm not saying that was the case here, but why should anyone fear testifying about advice they've given if that advice were in the best interests of the country?) The only people that wouldn't want to testify are the people that have put advancement of partisan politics above serving the country.

    Under a Democratic administration, I would expect and demand that the Congress continues to act as a check on power and a measure of accountability. Divided government is not always a bad thing.

  4. Hhhhm, funny how twice now I have responded to your response and twice now that response hasn't made it through the moderation process. What's the deal? Are you interested in having an honest dialog about politics with people who may or may not agree with you, or just preach to the choir? If you're going to show such disrespect to people who don't share your viewpoints, I certainly won't waste any more of my time trying to have a conversation with you.

  5. Jason, all of your comments have gone through. None of them are on my comment moderation page. It just takes time for me to return from work and post them. Keep on arguing your position.

  6. The American populace should be wary of a member of the executive branch or legislative ranch directly attempting to influence the impartiality of the high court regardless of its leanings.

    I can offer five instances in which pressure was applied to the high court from the executive or legislative branches, and in one instace both that seriously dmaaged the Supreme Court as a whole

    1. The impeachment in 1804-1805 of Associate Justice Samuel Chase was orchestrated by the Democratic-Republicans on trumped up charges of abuse of power.

    2. The 1857 Scott v. Sanford during the course of the deliberations President Buchanan encouraged his old friend and ally Justices Catron to influence the vote of Justice Grier to insure that the majority opinion was decided in Sanford's favor

    3. The abolition of the seats held by Justices Catron and Wayne in 1865 and 1867 respcetively by Congress were part of the attempt by the Radical Republicans to curb President Johnson's attempts to moderate Reconstruction. It should be noted that shortly after President Grant took office in March of 1869 the Congress increased the size of the Court from eight seats to nine.

    4. During the presidency of President Harding former President Taft used his influence to ensure that President Harding did not appoint justices in the vein of Justices Holmes and Brandeis both of whom he perceived as being liberal. It was largely President Taft's exertions that prevented the appointment of such judges as Learned Hand and Benjamin Cardozo in the 1920's.

    4.The court packing plan of 1937, an attempt by the President to shift the dynamic of the high court from a conservative to moderate bent to a more liberal stance.

    5. The forced retirement of Justice Clark, accomplished through appointment of son Ramsey as Solicitor General by President Lyndon johnson

    5. The 1968 attempt by President Lyndon Johnson to force Chief Justice Warren into retirement and appoint and replace him with a Johnson loyalist Associate justice Abe Fortas.

    6. The repeated attempts by then Rep. Gerald Ford beginning in 1971 to impeach Justice Douglas.


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