Condoleezza Rice and Executive Privilege

guayiya guayiya at
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.
         Daniel Hoffman

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