The Trick is to Suspend the Constitution Without Admitting It (Will Grigg)
Thursday June 27th, 2013
Since late 2001, the federal government has behaved as if the U.S. Constitution doesn’t exist with respect to matters of national security.
Rather than acting under the limited and revocable grants of authority provided by the Constitution, the executive branch has routinely invoked two measures enacted by Congress in a panicked haste following the 9/11 attacks – the so-called PATRIOT act, and the Authorization for Use of Military Force. Those measures supposedly permit the President and his subordinates to wage war anywhere on the face of the earth, carry out all-encompassing electronic surveillance of the entire population, and even carry out summary executions of anyone – including U.S. citizens – deemed to be enemies of the state.
Although the Constitution has not been formally suspended, we’ve entered a period in which presidential whim has supplanted the rule of law.
Pakistan endured a similar period of executive rule under the reign of military dictator Pervez Musharraf between 1999 and 2008. The Pakistani government is preparing to put Musharraf on trial for treason for suspending that country’s constitution. Perhaps that dictator’s mistake was to be candid about what he did, rather than swaddling his actions in the kind of civics-class bromides routinely uttered by Barack Obama as he behaves like a dictator.