Quantcast

The Limits of Power: Questions for Alito | The Nation

  •  

The Limits of Power: Questions for Alito

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size


Usurping Congressional Power

If you were a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, what would you
ask Samuel Alito about his record and judicial philosophy? Send us your questions, and as the hearings
unfold, TheNation.com will publish the best of them.

About the Author

Brendan Smith
Brendan Smith is an journalist, oysterman and labor activist. He is co-founder of Global Labor Strategies, a consulting...
Jeremy Brecher
Jeremy Brecher’s new book Save the Humans? Common Preservation in Action, just published by Paradigm...

Also by the Author

Doctors and psychologists weren't only observing "enhanced" interrogations. They were using information gathered to create a legal defense for those who authorized torture.

After three years of trying to convict Lt. Ehren Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq, the Army has allowed him to resign.

Also by the Author

We can, and must, create common ground between the labor and climate movements.

Despite rumors of its demise, Occupy Wall Street has given rise to a flurry of actions targeting the 99 percent. What is this new phenomenon—and what role will it play in November?

Article 1 of the Constitution states: "All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States." According to the Washington Post, Alito, ignoring the plain meaning of "all legislative powers," argued in a 1986 memo written for the Reagan Administration that the President should "routinely issue statements about the meaning of statutes when he signs them into law" to grant the President "the last word" in order to "increase the power of the Executive to shape the law." President Bush issued at least 108 of these "interpretive signing statements" in his first term alone, many of which "rejected provisions in bills that the White House regarded as interfering with its powers in national security [and] intelligence policy."

Judge Alito, do you still believe that the President can usurp the legislative authority of Congress? Do you deny that the Constitution entrusts Congress, and not the executive branch, with lawmaking power?


Torture and Accountability

President Bush recently signed into law the "McCain amendment" to a military spending bill outlawing the "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" of detainees. But in the process he reserved the right under another one of Alito's "signing statements" to bypass the torture ban under his powers as Commander in Chief. David Golove, a New York University law professor who specializes in executive power issues, told the Boston Globe that the signing statement means that Bush believes he can still authorize harsh interrogation tactics when he sees fit.

Judge Alito, do you believe that the President's powers as Commander in Chief allow him to authorize torture in certain circumstances? Do you believe the Constitution grants the executive the power to defy an express Congressional ban on torture?

  • Share
  • Decrease text size Increase text size

Before commenting, please read our Community Guidelines.