14 nov. 2008

Independence or immunity of the presidency? That's the question.

Bush, Out of Office, Could Oppose Inquiries?
This is what the New York Times has to say:
When a Congressional committee subpoenaed Harry S. Truman in 1953, nearly a year after he left office, he made a startling claim: Even though he was no longer president, the Constitution still empowered him to block subpoenas.
“If the doctrine of separation of powers and the independence of the presidency is to have any validity at all, it must be equally applicable to a president after his term of office has expired,” Truman wrote to the committee.

There are a lot of issues to be investigated and the NYT doesn't count them either, but Obama himself said that people needed to distinguish “between really dumb policies and policies that rise to the level of criminal activity.”
Of course really dumb politics can be reversed as simple is that and there are enough criminal activities to keep the court busy. Inhabitants of the death rows are fond of the incumbent president because "he is one of us" and Bush43 expressed his admiration of the guillotine with the words: "Keep Them Rolling!"
You can read the article in the New York Times here, but Pointer can point this out for you: If the independence of the presidency has to be understood and expressed as legal immunity of the president, even in a case of criminal activities, the former president is not better off. The next president can - backed by the same immunity - apply a license to kill the former president and his affiliates by a secret order. It's faster, easier and cheaper, but Pointer thinks that a legal trial is preferable yet.