Monday, April 14, 2008

Bush is above the 4th Amendment?

A 2003 Justice Department memo was recently disclosed, and in its 81 pages, it declared that George W. Bush is above the 4th Amendment. This memo was made public last week in response to an ACLU lawsuit. No Court has ever ruled that the 4th Amendment does not apply to the military.

The Washington Post writes:

The document disclosed, for example, that the administration's top lawyers had declared that the president has unfettered power to seize oceangoing ships as commander in chief; that Congress has no ability to pass legislation governing the interrogations of enemy combatants; and that federal laws prohibiting assault and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned al-Qaeda captives.

One section discussed to what extent the president might be allowed to legally maim a prisoner, such as through the use of a "scalding, corrosive, or caustic substance." A footnote argued that Fifth Amendment guarantees of due-process rights "do not address actions the Executive takes in conducting a military campaign against the Nation's enemies."

These bold assertions surprised many experts, including career officials and Bush appointees at the Justice and Defense departments, who said the previously secret opinions are overly broad and improperly granted vast powers to the president without adequate internal debate or judicial oversight.

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