1/26/2005

Principled Opposition from the Senate Democrats

A great post on Daily Kos today about the fact that all 8 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against confirming Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General:
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid seems to be setting things up to go after what I believe is one of the most disturbing facts about Alberto Gonzales, namely his advocacy of policies consistent with tyranny.  
Think about it: Gonzales' legal briefs arguing that Presidential statements shielding torturers from arrest imply that the President is above the law, or that the President himself IS the law; that sovereignty and law emanate from him. The founding fathers, having read their Paine and Montesquieu, knew that tyranny had to be resisted or prevented by countervailing power within the body politic and the government. Of course, with the current composition of Congress, there's little chance that the Democrats can directly prevent Bush and the Republicans from achieving their goals.
Although Gonzales will be confirmed, Reid and the Democrats are doing the right thing and will probably achieve two small but imporatant success from the proceedings. Under the Constitution, only Congress can write laws, and it's not the prerogative of the President to abide by only those laws he finds acceptable. It's clear that Bush would like to ignore laws he finds inconvenient or constraining, and he stocks his retinue with people who indulge his desires. But by drawing out the confirmation process to draw attention to Gonzales' key role in justifying the repudiation of the rule of law in favor of Presidential diktat, Reid and the Senate Democrats are not only doing a service to fellow Democrats who desire a muscular opposition party willing to inflict wounds on their partisan adversaries. Reid and the Senate Democrats are serving the interests of the entire country by upholding the Senate's responsibility to exercise its power and liberty to approve or reject the nominations of the executive. Democrats should be proud, and everyone opposed to tyranny should be thankful.

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