Obama to add signing statement to defense authorization opposing McCain-Levin amendment

posted at 10:05 am on December 22, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

It’s not for the first time, either — and not even the first time for a defense authorization bill.  Under fire from civil libertarians on his left, Barack Obama will add a signing statement objecting to the McCain-Levin amendment on the jurisdiction of terror suspects captured in or out of the US.  Attorney General Eric Holder announced the decision in an interview with the Wall Street Journal:

Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed speculation Wednesday that President Barack Obama would issue a signing statement when he makes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its controversial detention provisions law.

“We made really substantial progress in moving from something that was really unacceptable to the administration to something with which we still have problems,” Holder said in response to a question from the Wall Street Journal’s Evan Perez. “But I think through these procedures, with these regulations we will be crafting, we can minimize the problems that will actually affect us in an operational way.”

Of course, readers will recall this lecture on constitutional law from Professor Obama during the 2008 campaign. Obama regularly excoriated George W. Bush for adding signing statements and called them a violation of the separation of powers, and told an audience that he would veto a bill he thought trampled on the Constitution and individual rights:

Q: When Congress offers you a bill, do you promise not to use presidential signage [sic] to get your way?

OBAMA: Yes. [Applause] Let me just explain for those who are unfamiliar with this issue.  You know, we’ve got a government designed by the founders so that there’d be checks and balances.  You don’t want a President that’s too powerful or a Congress that’s too powerful or courts that are too powerful.  Everybody’s got their own role.  Congress’ job is to pass legislation.  The President can veto it, or he can sign it.  But what George Bush has been trying to do is part of his effort to accumulate more power in the Presidency, is, he’s been saying, “Well, I can basically change what Congress passed by attaching a letter that says ‘I don’t agree with this part’ or ‘I don’t agree with that part.’ I’m going to choose to interpret it this way or that way.” Uh, that’s not part of his power.  But this is part of the whole theory of George Bush that he can make laws as he’s going along.  I disagree with that.  I taught the Constitution for ten years, I believe in the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States.  We’re not going to use signing statements as a way of doing an end run around Congress.

Back to Eric Holder for the punchline:

“So we are in a better place, I think the regulations, procedures that will help, and we’ll also have a signing statement from the president” which will help clarify how they view the law, Holder said.

What does that sound like?  Why, it sounds like an end run around Congress via a signing statement, doesn’t it?  Granted, it’s not the same as doing end runs around Congress through the EPA, but it apparently no longer offends the Constitutional law lecturer to use the same mechanism he derided as a presidential candidate. He seems pretty darned happy to find out that signing statements actually are “part of his power,” or at least happy to make that argument now that he’s in position to benefit by it.


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I do believe we have our first Obamateurism of the 2012 season!

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2011 at 10:10 AM

The GOP ads just write themselves. Too bad the GOP can’t recognize political value when gets mailed to them with a note.

BobMbx on December 22, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Congress? We don’t need no stinking Congress!…

sandee on December 22, 2011 at 10:12 AM

Is this the “Hope” or the “Change”?

Bishop on December 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

I won

It doesn’t matter what I said on the campaign trail

cmsinaz on December 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM

No, it actually sounds like an obfuscation of the Constitution by the President and an AG who believes he is above the lawmaking power of Congress.

Together this President and his AG represent the epitome of everything that is wrong with our country today. They lie, cheat, hide and demur instead of stating their true intentions. Then, they chortle behind the American people’s backs as they pursue an agenda which is contrary to everything we stand for as a nation.

Time for “change” indeed.

Marcus Traianus on December 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Sig Heil.

Vee vill run everyting, yah?

fogw on December 22, 2011 at 10:18 AM

I know we’re going to see the Media call him on the Liar that he is any second now. Right? Right?

lisa fox on December 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

+1 bobmbx

cmsinaz on December 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Wish Holder was as worried about the civil liberties of Mexican nationals as he is about terrorists.

besser tot als rot on December 22, 2011 at 10:21 AM

The Fourth Amendment was already dead (US Patriot Act)and now congress kills the Fifth Amendment with NDAA. What’s next?!
Where are the constitution loving conservatives?
Every one who voted for this shame must be voted out.

Salahuddin on December 22, 2011 at 10:22 AM

W does this….bad
Dear leader does this…..awesome

cmsinaz on December 22, 2011 at 10:23 AM

I believe in the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States.

How about Article II Section 1, and the Supreme Court precedent which defined a key phrase relevant to Presidential eligibility?

At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners. (Minor v. Happersett, 88 U.S. 162, 167 [1874])

ITguy on December 22, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed speculation Wednesday that President Barack Obama would issue a signing statement when he makes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and its controversial detention provisions law.

Why is Eric Holder STILL the Atorney General?

listens2glenn on December 22, 2011 at 10:24 AM

I hate to say it, but I actually agree with him on this. McCain-Levin is an awful usurpation of rights, and should have been killed in voting. The fact it wasn’t scares me.

kerncon on December 22, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Almost forgot how he blamed W for everything on earth last time around.

This time it’s Congress and the Tea Party.

Awesome.

CorporatePiggy on December 22, 2011 at 10:25 AM

I just can’t wait for some journalist to have the cojones to confront Obumbo with this video and ask for his reaction on national TV.

I just cant wait to see him Obumble, Omumble, Ofumble, etc. with a non-answer!

I can’t wait!

vpaddy123 on December 22, 2011 at 10:26 AM

His hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Rufus on December 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

but it apparently no longer offends the Constitutional law lecturer to use the same mechanism he derided as a presidential candidate.

Flipper strikes again.

GarandFan on December 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Happy Nomad on December 22, 2011 at 10:10 AM

First thing I thought of.

MisterElephant on December 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

VETO IT!!!!

Dante on December 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

vpaddy123 on December 22, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Sorry you’ll have to wait, here’s what they will ask him ………….

“Mr. President, what makes you so awesome?”

fogw on December 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Possibly HN :)

cmsinaz on December 22, 2011 at 10:33 AM

Brought to you exclusivly by Hot Air and only Hot Air.

docflash on December 22, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Damn it!! That Congress can be a real obstacle. Is there any way we can just ignore them altogether? There sure is Obumbler!!

It’s almost over folks..Almost over!! One term for the Idiot in Chief aka The Obumbler!!

Tbone McGraw on December 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

The McCain-Levin amendment basically imposes martial law by calling all of America a “battlefield”. The President would be allowed to arrest and detain ANYONE and hold them without due process. No phone calls, no attorneys, no sixth amendment. I am frightened by this kind of legislation.

psychocyber on December 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

I love this fool’s timing! Just as the GOP House is taking it on the chin and Obama’s numbers are rising; he pulls out his “Yes, I am that stupid!” sweat band! Thanks, ‘Stupid’!

Bob in VA on December 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

I wish I was a kid again so I could see America when it was America. This Bill and the local cops armed like the military will soon put and end to the USA. What next a sickle and hammer on our flag? Has anyone noticed right after Obama won that Macy’s changed their logo to the red commie star?

RAIDER on December 22, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Is it just me, or does this fraud lie a lot?

hoofhearted on December 22, 2011 at 10:39 AM

What did you expect from a lying marxist like Obambo? Constitutional scholar my rear end. Where are his grades from college? Harvard law review without ever publishing a paper? Give me a break. The only constitution this morons thinks about is his daily visit to the crapper. (Unless he’s full of it.)

rjulio on December 22, 2011 at 10:39 AM

Reported to ATTACKWATCH. You’re not allowed to point out President Super-Cool’s hypocrisy.

St Gaudens on December 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM

I’m going to choose to interpret it this way or that way.

A Berry big fail. The President is obligated to interpret laws in accordance with his or her view of the Constitution. The Court may overturn that interpretation (if it has appellate jurisdiction on the matter). So, far from being a bad thing, the above is actually a good thing.

Bush should never have generated signing statements. Obama was right in that regard. Now that he’s generating one, what makes his behavior so different from the bad behavior he claims for his predecessor in office? A: nothing at all.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 10:43 AM

The GOP ads just write themselves. Too bad the GOP can’t recognize political value when gets mailed to them with a note.

BobMbx on December 22, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Exactly right.

We are on a very slippery slope right now, and as we see our government passing laws in direct violation of the Constitution, we also see our VP and the White House tell us they don’t even know who our enemies are.

This is a very, very dangerous tume for this country.

KMC1 on December 22, 2011 at 10:43 AM

The absolute arrogance of this man and his administration is astonishing. I cant hardly wait for his (Obamas) minions and boot lickers to come to his rescue with ” That is not exactly what he said or even meant ” or ” That was taken out of context ” or my all time fav……… ” the tape was edited ” ………..The dolts have totally made doubling down on stupid a career move.

RiCkY.D. on December 22, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Too bad we are the only ones who will ever know about it…

ktrich on December 22, 2011 at 10:52 AM

Of course, readers will recall this lecture on constitutional law from Professor Obama

Now THAT’S funny! So that’s what they call corrupt Illinois leftists, that are recipients of a machine provided position at the $50k+ per year University of Chitcago.

MNHawk on December 22, 2011 at 10:53 AM

The McCain-Levin amendment basically imposes martial law by calling all of America a “battlefield”. The President would be allowed to arrest and detain ANYONE and hold them without due process. No phone calls, no attorneys, no sixth amendment. I am frightened by this kind of legislation.

psychocyber on December 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Indeed.

And if Obama truly opposed it, he would veto it. But he doesn’t really oppose it, he supports it but wants to appear as if he opposes it.

McCain’s name is attached to the amendment, so the impression is given that the 2008 Republican nominee supports it, while Obama “opposes” it. Wink, wink.

It would not surprise me one bit if Obama ends up using and abusing this power that he claims to oppose.

ITguy on December 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM

So Obluster is at it again, along with his comrade-crony-cohort Holdover, as the smug cloud of hypocrisy billows from their puffed-out egos. Just another normal day of fibs, flimflams and falsehoods from the fraudulence known as the Obama admin.

stukinIL4now on December 22, 2011 at 10:55 AM

The man has no shame.

steved95 on December 22, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Where are the constitution loving conservatives?
Salahuddin on December 22, 2011 at 10:22 AM

i needed a good laugh,thank you.

svs22422 on December 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM

As a Libertarian I’m glad for this. The McCain-Levin was an abomination and I don’t understand how anyone could look at that BS and the Constitution and be Ok with it.

Wood Dragon on December 22, 2011 at 10:59 AM

This is merely incontrovertible proof that Owebama is a bare faced LIAR, and this is news because? LOL

bitterklinger on December 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM

we also see our VP and the White House tell us they don’t even know who our enemies are.

KMC1 on December 22, 2011 at 10:43 AM

VP Joeke wouldn’t know an enemy if he saw one since there’s one staring back at him every time he looks in the mirror–and megadittoes for the WH.

stukinIL4now on December 22, 2011 at 11:02 AM

*YAWN* – HuhWut? Go back to sleep.

Love,

Everyone But Conservative Bloggers

FlatFoot on December 22, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Do we know what the signing statement says?
Is there a link?

Skandia Recluse on December 22, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Has Senator McCain ever created anything that benefited the country? Other than Meggie, of course…

bofh on December 22, 2011 at 11:10 AM

It just goes to show you what pu**ies the GOP in Congress truly are. This sort of legislation should have been shot down by the GOP in Congress and demonstrates like no other, that those in the GOP are really no different than Democrats.

This legislation should never have seen the ink from whats – his – faces pen.

DevilsPrinciple on December 22, 2011 at 11:11 AM

http://www.crossroad.to/Quotes/communism/alinsky.htm

It’s all according to plan. This is an excellent summary of Alinsky and his rules for rads. I fear they will never stop.

3. “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy. Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)

8. “Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose.”

9. “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

FLconservative on December 22, 2011 at 11:13 AM

“Everybody’s got their own role.” Good one, B.

Ever hear of an Executive Order? http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_order
The executive branch has the power to legislate what it wants.

Ever hear of EO 13166 signed by Clinton in 2000 which mandates that a doctor seeing a non-English speaking medicaid patient (for a $12 office visit) provide an interpretor for the patient (at a cost to the physician of $60 an hour)?

“Just another brick in the wall.” — Pink Floyd

NoPain on December 22, 2011 at 11:15 AM

psychocyber on December 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

…basically imposes martial law

Basically not…

Martial law is the imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis

The military isn’t going to be anyone’s streets and will have no authority to impose rule.

Besides, if this was true Obama should have vetoed the bill. The signing statement by Obama was disingenuous and lacked the fortitude of his stated convictions.

On the positive side his reputation as a noted constitutional scholar remains safely obscured by his rhetoric.

STL_Vet on December 22, 2011 at 11:15 AM

ITguy on December 22, 2011 at 10:23 AM

What are your answers, based on the text you just quoted in Minor v. Happersatt, on these questions:

a) Is the child born on US territory a citizen if only the father is a citizen?
b) Is the child born on US territory a citizen if only the mother is a citizen?
c) Is the child born on US territory a citizen if neither parent is a citizen but neither parent is an accredited diplomat of a foreign country?
d) Is the child born on US territory a citizen if neither parent is a citizen and at least one parent is an accredited diplomat of another country?
e) Is the child born on US territory a citizen if either parent is only 3/5s of a person according to the census enumeration clause in the Constitution?

Since Obama comes under (b), your answer to that question is the most interesting.

f) Do you agree with the citizenship answer provided by the 14th Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.

g) What is the distinction between “natural born” and “born in the United States”?

h) Given that the second phrase is the one used in the 14th Amendment to our Constitution, does it at all change the meaning of the “natural born” phrase which occurs in Article II, Section 1:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

i) Given a literal reading of Article II, Section 1, does any person now living meet the requirements to serve as President of the United States?

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 11:18 AM

What really frightens me about this detention law is the fact that the detainee would not be allowed to communicate his status with anyone. He would be held in communique. So how would this person seek relief? How would this person seek justice? How would this person’s family know where he was, who was holding him against his will, and how to get aid and relief to him?

The Supreme Court will strike this law down in a heartbeat but how many people will be subjected to this law’s harshness before the Supreme Court rules?

gasmeterguy on December 22, 2011 at 11:18 AM

“…it apparently no longer offends the Constitutional law lecturer to use the same mechanism he derided as a presidential candidate.”

Consistency is the hobgoglin of small minds and full professors. it troubles not the facile genius of the lecturer for whom political leverage gained the position to burnish his resumé.

novaculus on December 22, 2011 at 11:47 AM

From October of 2006, long before anyone had heard of O’bama:

Bush’s Signing Statement Dictatorship

President Bush has once again decreed that his personal pen is the highest law of the land. In a statement issued on October 4, 2006, he announced that he would ignore many provisions of the Homeland Security appropriations act he signed earlier in the day. His action vivifies that the rule of law now means little more than the enforcement of the secret thoughts of the commander in chief.

Bush’s postsigning statement declared that he would interpret many sections of the new law “in a manner consistent with the president’s constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch.” In plain English, this means that many of the limits that Congress imposed on Bush’s power — and that he accepted when he took the money Congress appropriated — are null and void. Why? Because the president says so.

-snip-

Apparently, the government is no longer obliged to obey any law that Bush does not personally approve. At a June congressional hearing, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) asked Justice Department lawyer Michelle Boardman for a list of all the laws that Bush has declared will no longer be enforced. Boardman replied, “I cannot give you that list.”

-snip-

So what is the meaning of “limited government” in the Bush era? Merely that the courts and Congress must be prohibited from limiting the president’s power. Bush’s signing statements are building blocks for dictatorship. The longer he builds, the darker America becomes.

Orwell was right.

Del Dolemonte on December 22, 2011 at 11:56 AM

A – No.
B – No.
C – No.
D – No.
E – This was nullified by amendment.
F – Yes.
G – “natural born” is born of citizens; “born in the United States” is native born
H – No.
I. Yes; the majority of the American citizens, in fact.

Dante on December 22, 2011 at 11:58 AM

From October of 2006, long before anyone had heard of O’bama:

I’d say most people tuned in to politics and the news heard of Obama in 2004.

Dante on December 22, 2011 at 11:59 AM

And here is what the O’bama Fluffers at the NY Times had to say in March of 2009:

Calling into question the legitimacy of all the signing statements that former President George W. Bush used to challenge new laws, President Obama ordered executive officials on Monday to consult with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. before relying on any of them to bypass a statute.

But Mr. Obama also signaled that he intended to use signing statements himself if Congress sent him legislation with provisions he decided were unconstitutional. He promised to take a modest approach when using the statements, legal documents issued by a president the day he signs bills into law that instruct executive officials how to put the statutes into effect. But Mr. Obama said there was a role for the practice if used appropriately.

-snip-

Many of Mr. Bush’s challenges were based on an expansive view of the president’s power, as commander in chief, to take actions he believes necessary, regardless of what Congress says in legislation.

The American Bar Association declared that such signing statements were “contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional separation of powers,” and called on Mr. Bush and future presidents to stop using them and to return to a system of either signing a bill and then enforcing all of it, or vetoing the bill and giving Congress a chance to override that veto.

Sound of Crickets from the ABA so far?

Del Dolemonte on December 22, 2011 at 11:59 AM

psychocyber on December 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

ITguy on December 22, 2011 at 10:54 AM

You guys need to read the bill you are dismissing as an affront to your rights.

Here it is: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s1867pcs/pdf/BILLS-112s1867pcs.pdf

The important pages from your standpoint begin on page 362, which basically state that (a) Citizens of the United States are not covered under the detainee law, but (b) Legal Residents (“Lawful Resident Aliens”) are — “except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States”. In case you don’t want to bother, here’s the applicable text:

(b) APPLICABILITY TO UNITED STATES CITIZENS AND LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—

(1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

(2) LAWFUL RESIDENT ALIENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 12:01 PM

From October of 2006, long before anyone had heard of O’bama:

I’d say most people tuned in to politics and the news heard of Obama in 2004.

Dante on December 22, 2011 at 11:59 AM

That’s not what the Horse’s Mouth said in 2007. From the Far-Right Washington Post:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/11/AR2007021100391.html

Obama Calls Name Recognition Big Hurdle

Barack Obama said Sunday that name recognition would be his toughest challenge in his 2008 presidential campaign.

His leading rivals for the Democratic nomination are far better known to voters, the Illinois senator said in an Associated Press interview the day after announcing his candidacy.

“At least two of my fellow candidates have been campaigning for years,” Obama said, referring to New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

“They have an infrastructure and name recognition that are higher than mine so there will probably be a higher burden of proof for me,” the first-term senator said.

Del Dolemonte on December 22, 2011 at 12:07 PM

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Heh. I made the same point to the reliably silly if not downright hysterical ernesto a couple of days back. We are wasting our time with these people. Facts don’t sway them in the face of a higher truth, i.e., whatever BS narrative feeds their delusional state at the moment.

novaculus on December 22, 2011 at 12:12 PM

They should send all the Gitmo folks back for a trial firing squad of their peers.

KenInIL on December 22, 2011 at 12:19 PM

A – No.
B – No.
C – No.
D – No.
E – This was nullified by amendment.
F – Yes.
G – “natural born” is born of citizens; “born in the United States” is native born
H – No.
I. Yes; the majority of the American citizens, in fact.

Dante on December 22, 2011 at 11:58 AM

Where, in the phrase “born in the United States” is the requirement that the birth be to United States Citizens? In fact, part of the reason for the wording of the 14th (as you well point out in your answer to (e)) is to nullify the majority decision in Dred Scott — which held that blacks, never having been citizens, could neither be nor give birth to citizens. It’s obvious that the framers of this Amendment were modifying the citizenship requirement at least with respect to blacks. Yet, under the “equal protection” clause, said rights must be extended to non-blacks as well.

Now, some of those voting on the Amendment must have viewed the Amendment as applying not to those born of foreign parents but only to blacks — but if a black were the progeny of a foreign born slave, were they to be denied the protection of the Amendment? After all, these blacks came from a place under whose power they resided — subject to said foreign power… yet they were now Citizens.

Now by your own equivalence of the two clauses, anyone born in the United States, whether to a citizen or to a non-citizen, is “natural born”. Sounds good to me…

Indeed, the concept of non birthright citizenship is repugnant on its face — for under such a regime, the great great grandchildren of noncitizens remain noncitizens, and may be viewed as an underclass without some basic rights which Citizens of the United States enjoy here. They cannot vote, they cannot hold office… and said people, in a very short time, might well comprise the majority. In fact, if one were to apply your idea of citizenship retroactively, most of certain ethnicities, such as the Chinese (remember the Alien Exclusion Acts?), would be rendered noncitizens.

Now, with respect to (i), doesn’t the phrase “at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution” kind of negate your answer? And, if it doesn’t, what does the phrase truly mean with regard to a determinism of citizenship? There appear to be two classes of people mentioned in spite of the bad positioning of commas — what makes them different?

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

Heh. I made the same point to the reliably silly if not downright hysterical ernesto a couple of days back. We are wasting our time with these people. Facts don’t sway them in the face of a higher truth, i.e., whatever BS narrative feeds their delusional state at the moment.

novaculus on December 22, 2011 at 12:12 PM

You underestimate the reasoning ability of your opponents. If we take the approach you suggest, debate is a waste of time. In addition, there are always three quantities to every debate — you, your opponent, and an audience. It’s the third to which you are actually appealing. And if your opponent offers good points in rebuttal, your own reasoning is stimulated.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 12:40 PM

The McCain-Levin amendment basically imposes martial law by calling all of America a “battlefield”. The President would be allowed to arrest and detain ANYONE and hold them without due process. No phone calls, no attorneys, no sixth amendment. I am frightened by this kind of legislation.

psychocyber on December 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

You d@mn well ought to be frightened. Under this law the only thing protecting you is the fact that you’re (probably) not on their radar yet.

But hey, just do what you’re told, don’t ask questions, and you won’t be labeled a ‘terrorist’…right?

MelonCollie on December 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM

The GOP ads just write themselves. Too bad the GOP can’t recognize political value when gets mailed to them with a note.

BobMbx on December 22, 2011 at 10:11 AM

oh, I’m sure they GOP (or an individual candidate/the GOP nominee) will play the above ‘ad’ over and over again, it’s perfect as it is, no amend necessary :-)…they’ll only have to pay to air it, otherwise it’s already put together :-), all it needs is ‘endorsed by X candidate’ at the end…this is too good to pass it by….

jimver on December 22, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Why is Obama a serial liar and the media won’t take him to task? The man is dangerous and the left literally does not care. Incredible!

steved95 on December 22, 2011 at 1:30 PM

You underestimate the reasoning ability of your opponents.

In ernesto’s case, I’m certain I do not underestimate. I’m not sure it is even possible to underestimate.

If we take the approach you suggest, debate is a waste of time.

Well, sometimes it is a waste of time.

In addition, there are always three quantities to every debate — you, your opponent, and an audience. It’s the third to which you are actually appealing. And if your opponent offers good points in rebuttal, your own reasoning is stimulated.

unclesmrgol on December 22, 2011 at 12:40 PM

I quite agree there. I said above we were wasting our time on the likes of ernesto and his brain-dead, knee-jerk ilk. Aside from passing the time with the idle self-amusement of smacking down fools, the possibility that someone else may benefit from the discussion or the example made of the fool is the only reason to bother responding.

novaculus on December 22, 2011 at 2:06 PM

“Do you think he plans it all out, or just makes it up as he goes along?”

Dino V on December 22, 2011 at 2:52 PM

The GOP ads would write themselves if the GOP had been against this when W. was in charge. This is why we need to police our own or throw them all out.

trizzlor on December 22, 2011 at 2:53 PM

1) UNITED STATES CITIZENS.—The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States.

The paranoid claim that they are not required to, but that they may do so if they want.
Speaking of which, I see a Ronulan on this thread believing in the hysteria around the NDAA.

Hard Right on December 22, 2011 at 3:01 PM

The paranoid claim that they are not required to, but that they may do so if they want.
Speaking of which, I see a Ronulan on this thread believing in the hysteria around the NDAA.

Hard Right on December 22, 2011 at 3:01 PM

Right, because a US president would never detain American citizens and hold them indefinitely without charge.

Oh wait, FDR did it to Japanese-Americans who where citizens. Oh and Lincoln imprisoned over 13,000 citizens and held them without charge including the entire state of Maryland legislature along with northern newspaper editors. But those were for good causes. They meant well. Good intentions are all that really matters.

Were all just crazy Ronulan’s afraid of the benevolent federal government.

ReformedDeceptiCon on December 22, 2011 at 3:13 PM

I taught the Constitution for ten years, I believe in the Constitution, and I will obey the Constitution of the United States.

A trifecta of lying.

tom on December 22, 2011 at 3:15 PM

I taught the Constitution for ten years.

He taught it? What sort of university let’s a wet behind the ears, newly minted lawyer lecture anyone on anything? Is Harvard really that hard up? Given the product of their education, it seems so.

As a result, my high school junior son knows so much more about it than you do, purfesser. That’s right up there with the whole, “I’m going to go through each bill and veto any excessive spending.” While it is humorous to consider what he believes to be ‘excessive spending’, it is even more humorous to listen to the Constitutional Law purfesser state that he believes the President to have the line item veto.

PorchDawg on December 22, 2011 at 3:25 PM

Show me proof that this numbskull was ever a Constitutional Law Professor. Has he ever shown ANY proof of this?

No?

Oh, okay.

Key West Reader on December 22, 2011 at 3:32 PM

You just can’t make this stuff up….Reality is better than fiction!!!

logicman_1998 on December 22, 2011 at 4:21 PM

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/16/three_myths_about_the_detention_bill/

Myth # 1: This bill does not codify indefinite detention

Section 1021 of the NDAA governs, as its title says, “Authority of the Armed Forces to Detain Covered Persons Pursuant to the AUMF.” The first provision — section (a) — explicitly “affirms that the authority of the President” under the AUMF ”includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons.” The next section, (b), defines “covered persons” — i.e., those who can be detained by the U.S. military — as “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” With regard to those “covered individuals,” this is the power vested in the President by the next section, (c):


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zVvpYWaHrVw/Tus6PTpgKfI/AAAAAAAAAec/KmA68wsYsd0/s1600/bill.png

It simply cannot be any clearer within the confines of the English language that this bill codifies the power of indefinite detention. It expressly empowers the President — with regard to anyone accused of the acts in section (b) – to detain them “without trial until the end of the hostilities.” That is the very definition of “indefinite detention,” and the statute could not be clearer that it vests this power. Anyone claiming this bill does not codify indefinite detention should be forced to explain how they can claim that in light of this crystal clear provision.

It is true, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, that both the Bush and Obama administrations have argued that the 2001 AUMF implicitly (i.e., silently) already vests the power of indefinite detention in the President, and post-9/11 deferential courts have largely accepted that view (just as the Bush DOJ argued that the 2001 AUMF implicitly (i.e., silently) allowed them to eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by law). That’s why the NDAA can state that nothing is intended to expand the 2001 AUMF while achieving exactly that: because the Executive and judicial interpretation being given to the 20o1 AUMF is already so much broader than its language provides.

But this is the first time this power of indefinite detention is being expressly codified by statute (there’s not a word about detention powers in the 2001 AUMF). Indeed, as the ACLU and HRW both pointed out, it’s the first time such powers are being codified in a statute since the McCarthy era Internal Security Act of 1950, about which I wrote yesterday.

Myth #2: The bill does not expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF

This myth is very easily dispensed with. The scope of the war as defined by the original 2001 AUMF was, at least relative to this new bill, quite specific and narrow. Here’s the full extent of the power the original AUMF granted:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Iek5MeWBQ4Q/Tus878brTUI/AAAAAAAAAeo/Lbg_R_3XJVc/s1600/bill2.png

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Under the clear language of the 2001 AUMF, the President’s authorization to use force was explicitly confined to those who (a) helped perpetrate the 9/11 attack or (b) harbored the perpetrators. That’s it. Now look at how much broader the NDAA is with regard to who can be targeted:

Section (1) is basically a re-statement of the 2001 AUMF. But Section (2) is a brand new addition. It allows the President to target not only those who helped perpetrate the 9/11 attacks or those who harbored them, but also: anyone who “substantially supports” such groups and/or “associated forces.” Those are extremely vague terms subject to wild and obvious levels of abuse (see what Law Professor Jonathan Hafetz told me in an interview last week about the dangers of those terms). This is a substantial statutory escalation of the War on Terror and the President’s powers under it, and it occurs more than ten years after 9/11, with Osama bin Laden dead, and with the U.S. Government boasting that virtually all Al Qaeda leaders have been eliminated and the original organization (the one accused of perpetrating 9/11 attack) rendered inoperable.

It is true that both the Bush and Obama administration have long been arguing that the original AUMF should be broadly “interpreted” so as to authorize force against this much larger scope of individuals, despite the complete absence of such language in that original AUMF. That’s how the Obama administration justifies its ongoing bombing of Yemen and Somalia and its killing of people based on the claim that they support groups that did not even exist at the time of 9/11 – i.e., they argue: these new post-9/11 groups we’re targeting are “associated forces” of Al Qaeda and the individuals we’re killing “substantially support” those groups. But this is the first time that Congress has codified that wildly expanded definition of the Enemy in the War on Terror. And all anyone has to do to see that is compare the old AUMF with the new one in the NDAA.

Myth #3: U.S. citizens are exempted from this new bill

This is simply false, at least when expressed so definitively and without caveats. The bill is purposely muddled on this issue which is what is enabling the falsehood.

There are two separate indefinite military detention provisions in this bill. The first, Section 1021, authorizes indefinite detention for the broad definition of “covered persons” discussed above in the prior point. And that section does provide that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” So that section contains a disclaimer regarding an intention to expand detention powers for U.S. citizens, but does so only for the powers vested by that specific section. More important, the exclusion appears to extend only to U.S. citizens “captured or arrested in the United States” — meaning that the powers of indefinite detention vested by that section apply to U.S. citizens captured anywhere abroad (there is some grammatical vagueness on this point, but at the very least, there is a viable argument that the detention power in this section applies to U.S. citizens captured abroad).

But the next section, Section 1022, is a different story. That section specifically deals with a smaller category of people than the broad group covered by 1021: namely, anyone whom the President determines is “a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force” and “participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.” For those persons, section (a) not only authorizes, but requires (absent a Presidential waiver), that they be held “in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.” The section title is “Military Custody for Foreign Al Qaeda Terrorists,” but the definition of who it covers does not exclude U.S. citizens or include any requirement of foreignness.

That section — 1022 — does not contain the broad disclaimer regarding U.S. citizens that 1021 contains. Instead, it simply says that the requirement of military detention does not apply to U.S. citizens, but it does not exclude U.S. citizens from the authority, the option, to hold them in military custody. Here is what it says:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QE8ezfTYEw0/TutETe950tI/AAAAAAAAAe0/0DYStHYqxss/s1600/bill3.png

The only provision from which U.S. citizens are exempted here is the “requirement” of military detention. For foreign nationals accused of being members of Al Qaeda, military detention is mandatory; for U.S. citizens, it is optional. This section does not exempt U.S citizens from the presidential power of military detention: only from the requirement of military detention.

The most important point on this issue is the same as underscored in the prior two points: the “compromise” reached by Congress includes language preserving the status quo. That’s because the Obama administration already argues that the original 2001 AUMF authorizes them to act against U.S. citizens (obviously, if they believe they have the power to target U.S. citizens for assassination, then they believe they have the power to detain U.S. citizens as enemy combatants). The proof that this bill does not expressly exempt U.S. citizens or those captured on U.S. soil is that amendments offered by Sen. Feinstein providing expressly for those exemptions were rejected. The “compromise” was to preserve the status quo by including the provision that the bill is not intended to alter it with regard to American citizens, but that’s because proponents of broad detention powers are confident that the status quo already permits such detention.

In sum, there is simply no question that this bill codifies indefinite detention without trial (Myth 1). There is no question that it significantly expands the statutory definitions of the War on Terror and those who can be targeted as part of it (Myth 2). The issue of application to U.S. citizens (Myth 3) is purposely muddled — that’s why Feinstein’s amendments were rejected — and there is consequently no doubt this bill can and will be used by the U.S. Government (under this President or a future one) to bolster its argument that it is empowered to indefinitely detain even U.S. citizens without a trial (NYT Editorial: “The legislation could also give future presidents the authority to throw American citizens into prison for life without charges or a trial”; Sen. Bernie Sanders: “This bill also contains misguided provisions that in the name of fighting terrorism essentially authorize the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens without charges”).

Even if it were true that this bill changes nothing when compared to how the Executive Branch has been interpreting and exercising the powers of the old AUMF, there are serious dangers and harms from having Congress — with bipartisan sponsors, a Democratic Senate and a GOP House — put its institutional, statutory weight behind powers previously claimed and seized by the President alone. That codification entrenches these powers. As the New York Times Editorial today put it: the bill contains “terrible new measures that will make indefinite detention and military trials a permanent part of American law.”

SilverDeth on December 22, 2011 at 4:48 PM

Myth # 1: This bill does not codify indefinite detention

Section 1021 of the NDAA governs, as its title says, “Authority of the Armed Forces to Detain Covered Persons Pursuant to the AUMF.” The first provision — section (a) — explicitly “affirms that the authority of the President” under the AUMF ”includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons.” The next section, (b), defines “covered persons” — i.e., those who can be detained by the U.S. military — as “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” With regard to those “covered individuals,” this is the power vested in the President by the next section, (c):


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-zVvpYWaHrVw/Tus6PTpgKfI/AAAAAAAAAec/KmA68wsYsd0/s1600/bill.png

It simply cannot be any clearer within the confines of the English language that this bill codifies the power of indefinite detention. It expressly empowers the President — with regard to anyone accused of the acts in section (b) – to detain them “without trial until the end of the hostilities.” That is the very definition of “indefinite detention,” and the statute could not be clearer that it vests this power. Anyone claiming this bill does not codify indefinite detention should be forced to explain how they can claim that in light of this crystal clear provision.

It is true, as I’ve pointed out repeatedly, that both the Bush and Obama administrations have argued that the 2001 AUMF implicitly (i.e., silently) already vests the power of indefinite detention in the President, and post-9/11 deferential courts have largely accepted that view (just as the Bush DOJ argued that the 2001 AUMF implicitly (i.e., silently) allowed them to eavesdrop on Americans without the warrants required by law). That’s why the NDAA can state that nothing is intended to expand the 2001 AUMF while achieving exactly that: because the Executive and judicial interpretation being given to the 20o1 AUMF is already so much broader than its language provides.

But this is the first time this power of indefinite detention is being expressly codified by statute (there’s not a word about detention powers in the 2001 AUMF). Indeed, as the ACLU and HRW both pointed out, it’s the first time such powers are being codified in a statute since the McCarthy era Internal Security Act of 1950, about which I wrote yesterday.

SilverDeth on December 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Myth #2: The bill does not expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF

This myth is very easily dispensed with. The scope of the war as defined by the original 2001 AUMF was, at least relative to this new bill, quite specific and narrow. Here’s the full extent of the power the original AUMF granted:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Iek5MeWBQ4Q/Tus878brTUI/AAAAAAAAAeo/Lbg_R_3XJVc/s1600/bill2.png

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Under the clear language of the 2001 AUMF, the President’s authorization to use force was explicitly confined to those who (a) helped perpetrate the 9/11 attack or (b) harbored the perpetrators. That’s it. Now look at how much broader the NDAA is with regard to who can be targeted:

Section (1) is basically a re-statement of the 2001 AUMF. But Section (2) is a brand new addition. It allows the President to target not only those who helped perpetrate the 9/11 attacks or those who harbored them, but also: anyone who “substantially supports” such groups and/or “associated forces.” Those are extremely vague terms subject to wild and obvious levels of abuse (see what Law Professor Jonathan Hafetz told me in an interview last week about the dangers of those terms). This is a substantial statutory escalation of the War on Terror and the President’s powers under it, and it occurs more than ten years after 9/11, with Osama bin Laden dead, and with the U.S. Government boasting that virtually all Al Qaeda leaders have been eliminated and the original organization (the one accused of perpetrating 9/11 attack) rendered inoperable.

It is true that both the Bush and Obama administration have long been arguing that the original AUMF should be broadly “interpreted” so as to authorize force against this much larger scope of individuals, despite the complete absence of such language in that original AUMF. That’s how the Obama administration justifies its ongoing bombing of Yemen and Somalia and its killing of people based on the claim that they support groups that did not even exist at the time of 9/11 – i.e., they argue: these new post-9/11 groups we’re targeting are “associated forces” of Al Qaeda and the individuals we’re killing “substantially support” those groups. But this is the first time that Congress has codified that wildly expanded definition of the Enemy in the War on Terror. And all anyone has to do to see that is compare the old AUMF with the new one in the NDAA.

SilverDeth on December 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Myth #3: U.S. citizens are exempted from this new bill

This is simply false, at least when expressed so definitively and without caveats. The bill is purposely muddled on this issue which is what is enabling the falsehood.

There are two separate indefinite military detention provisions in this bill. The first, Section 1021, authorizes indefinite detention for the broad definition of “covered persons” discussed above in the prior point. And that section does provide that “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.” So that section contains a disclaimer regarding an intention to expand detention powers for U.S. citizens, but does so only for the powers vested by that specific section. More important, the exclusion appears to extend only to U.S. citizens “captured or arrested in the United States” — meaning that the powers of indefinite detention vested by that section apply to U.S. citizens captured anywhere abroad (there is some grammatical vagueness on this point, but at the very least, there is a viable argument that the detention power in this section applies to U.S. citizens captured abroad).

But the next section, Section 1022, is a different story. That section specifically deals with a smaller category of people than the broad group covered by 1021: namely, anyone whom the President determines is “a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force” and “participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.” For those persons, section (a) not only authorizes, but requires (absent a Presidential waiver), that they be held “in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.” The section title is “Military Custody for Foreign Al Qaeda Terrorists,” but the definition of who it covers does not exclude U.S. citizens or include any requirement of foreignness.

That section — 1022 — does not contain the broad disclaimer regarding U.S. citizens that 1021 contains. Instead, it simply says that the requirement of military detention does not apply to U.S. citizens, but it does not exclude U.S. citizens from the authority, the option, to hold them in military custody. Here is what it says:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-QE8ezfTYEw0/TutETe950tI/AAAAAAAAAe0/0DYStHYqxss/s1600/bill3.png

The only provision from which U.S. citizens are exempted here is the “requirement” of military detention. For foreign nationals accused of being members of Al Qaeda, military detention is mandatory; for U.S. citizens, it is optional. This section does not exempt U.S citizens from the presidential power of military detention: only from the requirement of military detention.

SilverDeth on December 22, 2011 at 4:50 PM

For more info, please see the origional Article by Glenn Greenwald – here: http://www.salon.com/2011/12/16/three_myths_about_the_detention_bill/

SilverDeth on December 22, 2011 at 4:50 PM

SilverDeth on December 22, 2011 at 4:50 PM

Good work SilverDeth!

ReformedDeceptiCon on December 22, 2011 at 4:57 PM