Condoleezza Rice and Executive Privilege
guayiya at bellsouth.net
Tue Mar 30 22:49:38 PST 2004
Executive privilege has no basis in the text or the original
understanding of the Constitution. On the contrary, the President
"shall" inform Congress of the state of the union, and Congress, under
Art. I sec. 5, has the power to decide what shall be published.
Congress, as Grand Inquest of the Nation, has a right to all information
pertinent to its legislative and oversight functions.
It is true that Presidents have often made claims to the contrary, and
that Congress has sometimes declined to press its claims.
However, Burger, C.J., was mistaken in US v. Nixon in claiming that
Congress accepted the principle of executive privilege as early as
1796. For detail, see my "Governmental Secrecy and the Founding Fathers."
Madison, in Federalist #51, sought to unite the ambitions of the man
with the interests of the place. How sad, then, that Senate candidate
Erskine Bowles continues to think like a White House adviser, supporting
Ms.Rice's (now waived) privilege claim.
The separation of powers has proved to be a very inadequate device.
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