Because why not disincentivize cabinet members from providing thorough legal advice?

Terrifying.

President Obama raises the possibility of prosecuting Bush administration lawyers who approved so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on terror suspects.

Link: Because it would be more efficient if one guy could just rule by uninformed edict…

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama raised the possibility of prosecuting Bush administration lawyers who approved so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on terror suspects.

Mr. Obama, speaking to reporters Tuesday in the Oval Office, also laid out the parameters for a bipartisan commission to examine government tactics used in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, although he was careful to say he wasn’t endorsing such a panel.

Qualified immunity/political question would probably take care of this. Obvi Obama knows con law better than I do. But here’s the thing: If Obama seeks “legal action” in this case it’ll effectively disincentivize an active cabinet. It would be the definitive Hamiltonian executive, with only one messiah-like dude reining supreme. This does come from 78 (and…84, I think?), but it’s the unitary part he’s obviously focusing on, not the “energetic.”

I agree that the executive power should rest in one person. But the point of this unitary element is that the President should be able to act quickly. This requires thorough education of what avenues are available to him — and avenues that are not. By raising this hue and cry against the lawyers who attempted to educate Obama’s predecessor he’s instilling some fear in government lawyers to find the line between legal and illegal — which we all know is a different line from the moral/immoral distinction.

However we feel morally about torture, don’t w want a government that goes to the edge of what is available to it to protect its citizens? I’m not necessarily expressing an opinion on torture, but aren’t there a lot of people who wish there were no wars? Would we want a government that didn’t engage in war when necessary to protect its citizens? If you admit that there are instances when a government must do things it would not ordinarily want to do, in order to protect its constituency, then you have to agree there is some legal line. We will all — citizens, aliens, and terrorists alike — be better off if the President and all associated with his branch are clear and educated as to where that line falls.

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One response to “Because why not disincentivize cabinet members from providing thorough legal advice?

  1. Pingback: Unitary Executive « Unkategorized

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