Changing the Law

in Law

The issue of separation of power in the United States has been debated for a long time especially when it comes to the issue of making internal and foreign policies. The initial drafting of the United States constitution provided for separation of power between the legislative (congress), executive (presidency), and the judicial (courts). However throughout the history of the United States, there are many incidences where one branch of government has worked to override the other. The initial draft was supposed to ensure that governance of the country was a shared responsibility between the three arms. The attitude and conduct of President George Bush during his time in office can be used as a good example to illustrate the imbalance of exercise of power among the three arms. In order to understand how George Bush has overridden the power vested in Congress and the court, we are going to review the article "Bush challenges hundreds of law" which was published in the Boston Globe no April 30th 2006 by Charlie Savage.

Bush Challenges hundreds of laws

There is no presidential term in the history of the United States that has experienced so much conflict in exercise of power between the three arms of government like George Bush two presidential terms.  As has been described by a number of political observers, president Bush and his term in white house have been trying their best to concentrate the presidential authority  in their office ignoring the concept of sharing of  administrative powers between the three arms of government.

In deed, this assertion has been strengthened by President Bush claim that by virtue of holding an executive office and being the commander in chief of the armed forces, he has authority to override some of the laws which he claims to be unconstitutional. But since when did the executive determine whether a law is constitution or unconstitutional? This is the function of interpreters of the laws and the judicial system would be best suited to play that role.

During his term in office, President Bush has exerted his claimed authority and disobeyed more than 750 laws arguing that his office has the power to bypass any statute that has been passed by the congress if it is seen to conflict his own interpretation of the constitution. According to Savage (2006) means that president Bush is assuming the supremacy of the executive over the congress and the judicial system. In designation of the constitution power of every branch, the congress is supposed to be the ultimate law making body in the land and the executive led by the president is supposed to ensure that there is execution of laws that have been passed by the congress. On the other hand, the judiciary is supposed to interpret the laws according to the constitution.

To highlight but just a few, President Bush has decided to ignore various laws including military rules and regulations, provisions for affirmative actions, the need to inform the congress about immigration problem, protection of whistle blowers, and many others. As a commander in chief of the armed force, President Bush has asserted that he can bypass some laws including the torture ban, Columbia restriction, and others which involve the military. Although the president is the commander in chief of the armed forced, the congress reserves the privilege to create armies, to declare war, make rules regarding the prisoners of war, and many others. (Sheffield, 2007) However President Bush has decided to ignore the powers of the congress over the army.  Like we said earlier, President Bush has been trying to concentrate power in the executive at the expense of the congress.

President Bush does not only overstep his mandate in the executive but he has been contravening some of constitution amendments enacted centuries ago. For example under the Fourth amendment, US citizens are protected against arbitrary searches and arrest. In 2004, the congress had passes intelligence bill that required regular information on how the FBI is used security wiretaps in the United States. However after signing the bill, the president commented that he could hold any of the information that was required to be passed on to the congress citing it unconstitutional. However in many instance Bush has contended to fire employees who pass secret information on the government wrongdoing which amounts to intimidation of whistle blowers.

Savage (2006) asserts that in number of occasions, President Bush has failed to adhere to the judicial interpretation of the constitution. President Bush has failed to abide with interoperation calling for equal representation of minority citing them unconstitutional. For example when policy of admission to university was enacted in 2004, President Bush declared that it should be taken unconstitutional. The judicial system has been left with little power in reviewing of President Bush assertion especially when it comes to security matters. (CBS News, 2006)

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Changing the Law

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This article was published on 2011/03/09