Professor Finn on Presidential Power

Professor John E. Finn
Government Professor John E. Finn has an op-ed in the Hartford Courant today on the latest John Yoo memo, which basically asserts that the president has the authority to do whatever he thinks is necessary to do the things he thinks need to be done, constitution be damned.

Have a look at Professor Finn’s opinion:

Immediately following the terrible attacks of 9/11, President Bush promised an aggressive and comprehensive global war on terrorism. Every war seems to necessitate restrictions on civil liberty, but the president assured us that this war, the war on terrorism, must be understood as “a fight for our principles and our first responsibility is to live by them.”

Apparently those principles do not include the responsibility to abide by the constitutional document that gives them voice. The public release Tuesday of a memorandum on presidential power, prepared by John Yoo for the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice and later sent to Department of Defense, confirms what critics of the Bush presidency have said for years: This is an administration that has no respect for the rule of law, and which takes the astonishing position — sometimes called the unitary theory of the executive — that the Constitution imposes no limits on presidential authority during times of crisis or warfare.

Who decides if we are at war or in crisis? Who determines when (or if) the crisis has ended? Those decisions, too, the theory holds, are entrusted to the president and only to the president.

There’s more at the Hartford Courant.