The Delinquent Congress

June 13, 2007 ( – The Administration of George Bush has, in effect, suspended the Constitution of the United States. At Guantánamo in Cuba, in military prisons in the United States, and in secret detention facilities abroad, American citizens and non-citizens are being held without charge, without counsel, without prospect of a jury trial, in violation of the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth articles of the Bill of Rights. These rights apply to all persons under United States jurisdiction. The word “citizen” appears nowhere in the Bill of Rights.

The same Administration has conducted warrantless surveillance of American citizens in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and despite an explicit order of the Supreme Court to cease and desist.

And the Administration, in violation of ratified treaties which have the force of law (Article Six of the Constitution), is engaged in an undeclared war against a non-threatening nation, and is torturing prisoners. The treaties are, respectively, the Nuremberg Accords and the Geneva Conventions.

The President, upon signing Congressional legislation, issues “signing statements” which state, in effect, that he can, at his discretion, ignore the legislation above his signature. And he has issued a “directive” that, in event of some unspecified “emergency” so designated by himself, he can assume dictatorial powers.

Nor is this the end of it. As most readers are well aware, there have been numerous additional illegal acts by the Bush Administration, including the “outing” of a covert intelligence officer, obstruction of justice, and lying to the Congress and the American people.

The institution best situated to put an end to these crimes and to hold the criminals accountable to the rule of law is the Congress of the United States, each member of which has taken an oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Five months into its new term, the Congress now in control of the Democratic party has done essentially nothing to restore the rule of law and the supremacy of the Constitution. The initial decisive act leading to that end might be as simple as the passage of this two sentence resolution:

“The Congress of the United States hereby affirms that the Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. Accordingly, any and all legislation and executive orders in violation of the Constitution are null and void.”

The word “affirms” is crucial, for it states that at no time was the Constitution legally “in suspension,” and thus any legislation or acts by the Bush administration in violation thereof were at all times illegal and invalid.  Accordingly, the word "restoration" must be avoided in such a resolution.

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