Saturday, August 31, 2013

John Yoo: Still wrong on the Constitution

Please oh please oh please world, remember this is how John Yoo* views constitutional questions: With the Constitution being secondary to whatever warmaking policy imperative Yoo is in favor of this week.

The Constitution vests power in Congress to authorize war, the executive to, uh, execute it—and, it's generally understood, that power allows the executive to act with dispatch when an attack has been made upon the United States and its forces. Such is not the case here.

Tom Woods (who is almost certainly more conservative than I am) writes: "In conformity with this understanding, George Washington’s operations on his own authority against the Indians were confined to defensive measures, conscious as he was that the approval of Congress would be necessary for anything further. 'The Constitution vests the power of declaring war with Congress,' he said, 'therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they have deliberated upon the subject, and authorized such a measure.'" 

Seems clear. Choosing between Yoo's interpretations and George Washington's example, I'll stick with George Washington.

* I know we've moved on from the George W. Bush administration. But Yoo's work in the Office of Legal Counsel, I think, opened the door to scary possibilities from wartime American governments. He'll probably continue to be  my bugaboo.

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