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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Independence Day, Part 1

Score One for a co-equal branch of government as we approach the 230th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. And let's hope the other co-equal branch finds some lost spine, admittedly a highly dubious hope.

The Supreme Court's 5-3 decision rejecting the Bush administration's broad "l'etat, c'est moi" philosophy (that's "I can do anything I want" philosophy to you Freedom Fries lovers) is a preciously rare victory for those of us who believe in the Constitution.

In very clear terms, the High Court (with the usual Bush-electing dissenters plus Scalito) said the administration does not have the unbridled right to ignore US and international law in the pursuit of terrorists.

That means the justifiably noble battle against people out to destroy America and its democratic way of life cannot be waged on terms that destroy that democratic way of life. In effect, the High Court has told the Bush administration that if they have proof that someone is a threat to our safety, "bring it on."

As Bruce Fein, a Reagan Justice Department official told the Washington Post:
"What this decision says is, 'No, Mr. President, you can be bound by treaties and statutes. 'If you need to have these changed, you can go to Congress.' This idea of a coronated president instead of an inaugurated president has been dealt a sharp rebuke."
There's one big problem with planning a massive celebration. The court also told the administration that it needs to work with Congress to find the right balance. You know, Congress, that servile, supine, corrupt body that thinks flag-burning is the greatest menace to the nation.

Congress has worked diligently, in the name of the GOP conservative crusade, to tear down its constitutional responsibilities of sane budgeting, executive oversight and representing the rule of law.

As long as Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and their ilk remain in office, the chances of returning to true democracy, with co-equal branches of government, is a romantic notion -- like baseball, hot dogs, fireworks and band concerts on the town green.

If the democracy-busters in the administration are not checked, we'll see their image of American life on display on Independence Day. That runs to hauling missiles on trailers down Pennsylvania Avenue in a show of force. It's an image the Soviets favored, right up to their collapse.

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