A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSISWe all know about the various ways that George Bush has broken the law. It's fair to say at this point that he's actually a career criminal since illegality has become such a staple of his presidency. However, various powerful groups have started turning up the heat on his blatant attempts to declare himself dictator.
The Supreme Court case striking down Bush's Guantanamo Bay tribunals is still fresh in our minds, where a majority of Justices declared that there is in fact some limit to his wartime powers (namely, the Constitution). Valerie Plame is suing for the leaking of her CIA identity, and a number of groups are suing phone companies for complying with NSA wiretapping. These are just a few of the pending legal actions against Bush's corruption.
But it's the times Bush has broken the law while creating laws that are making the most headway right now. Recently a bipartisan American Bar Association panel concluded that the President's use of signing statements was being improperly used as a veto substitute, and called on Congress to give itself the right to sue Bush in federal court for his actions.
That's just what Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA), Senate Judiciary Chairman, is working on this week. Of course, Spector has a history of his mouth being bigger than his muscle, and its entirely possible that the new judicial review power, if it even passes, will rarely, if ever, actually be used.
Still, having important Republicans in Congress publicly attacking Bush, regardless of the motivations or results, is a good sign that the lame duck's control is slipping even further down the drain. Could Bush's second veto after stem cell research be on a bill that gives the other two branches of government the power to decide he has broken the law?
Secondly, let's not forget Conyers v. Bush, the lawsuit born in the aftermath of the Deficit Reduction Act fiasco, when Bush signed a bill into law even though he knew it hadn't been voted on, much less passed, in the House of Representatives (yes, this really happened). A dozen leading House Democrats filed the suit in hopes of nullifying the illegal law, which "reduced" the deficit by cutting taxes, health care benefits, and student loans.
Maybe Bush was AWOL the day they taught how a bill becomes a law in school, but it's spelled out pretty clearly in that old manuscript he's been using as toilet paper all these years. You know, the Constitution. It almost seems like they made the old Schoolhouse Rock video just for him.
Amazingly, Bush's lawyers are fighting the suit with bizarre legal concoctions that conceive of ways to make the violation even more egregious, like making part of the offending law simply disappear retroactively.
From this magically created law to signing statements, Bush has to pull new powers out of thin air in order to give himself the authority to make new laws out of thin air. And none of this voodoo even comes from his broad commander-in-chief powers that he has used to justify most other illegalities.
What else does Bush have to do to be held accountable for his actions?
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS