ACLU Hails Hearing on “Imperial Presidency”

July 25, 2008 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – As the House Judiciary Committee prepares to hold a hearing on the “imperial presidency of George W. Bush,” the American Civil Liberties Union voiced similar concerns about the unchecked expansion of the executive branch. The committee is expected to discuss various constitutional issues that have arisen during the Bush administration, including warrantless wiretapping, overreaching presidential signing statements and use of various privileges including the claim of state secrets to block investigations and judicial oversight.

“Seven years into the Bush administration and our rights are seven years worse for the wear. Every year this administration has been in power has compounded the damage to our ideals and Constitution,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “An executive branch that demands and holds too much power tips the scales of our system of checks and balances. We applaud Chairman Conyers for holding this hearing and upholding the legislative branch’s vital oversight role.”

Since taking office in 2001, George W. Bush’s administration has been responsible for vastly expanding the role of the executive branch and implementing policies curbing the rights of everyday Americans. Under the Bush regime, Americans have seen their government violate the Fourth Amendment by spying on its citizens without warrants, sanctioning torture, and practicing extraordinary rendition. All the while, members of the administration attempted to game the system and avoid accountability by improperly invoking the state secrets privilege and falsely claiming immunity.

“From signing statements to Guantanamo, the Bush administration has proven to be opportunistic and eager to work at or beyond the boundaries of the law,” Fredrickson said. “It has expanded the role of the executive branch by skirting the law for its own ends and perpetuating a war on our system of checks and balances. Our Constitution does not bend with the whim of whoever sits in the Oval Office. No matter who is in the White House six months from now, there must be a clear commitment to upholding the rule of law.”

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