Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bush, Miers, and Rove

George W. Bush refrained from issuing pardons for his merry band of Constitution-violators, and we thought, well, here is restraint. But David Latt at Huffington Post points out that Bush really did do something pretty much akin to pardon:
Four days before he left office, Mr. Bush authorized (the White House counsel) to write letters to Harriet Miers and Karl Rove giving them "absolute immunity" from Congressional inquiry and prosecution. Preemptively. In perpetuity. Absolute and irrevocable.
Latt observes that Bush effectively did an end-run around the issue of pardons.

So the ball is going to be in Barack Obama's court. Does George Bush's death grip extend forever forward, or do we really just have one president at a time? We need to wait and see: the President might want to preserve this perverse interpretation of executive privilege. We haven't seen so far whether he's willing to relinquish the powers that George Bush claimed for the presidency. Personally, I hope Obama puts the republic first and the presidency later.


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