News Release

What About Constitutional Powers? Two Views


Cohn is the president of the National Lawyers Guild, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and the author of Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law. She recently wrote the piece “A Palin Theocracy.”

Cohn said today: “The next president will almost certainly appoint one to three justices to the Supreme Court, which is now delicately balanced politically. The most likely justices to retire are John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Souter. John McCain, who voted to confirm Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Samuel Alito, has vowed to appoint more justices like Roberts and Alito to the high court. One McCain appointee would tip the balance of the Court to the right which would likely overturn Roe v. Wade and decisions protecting the rights of workers and the environment, and decisions curbing the power of the executive. Barack Obama voted against the confirmation of Roberts and Alito, and has promised to appoint justices like Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Even if Obama made three appointments, he would not tip the political balance of the Court to the left, but would maintain the status quo since he would likely be replacing the ‘liberals.'”
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Author of the new book Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for our Constitution and Democracy, Fein said today: “It’s disgraceful that core constitutional questions have been virtually ignored in this election. Neither McCain nor Obama have indicated that they will move to a constitutional government and away from executive government.

“They have both said they would close Guantanamo, but that’s really meaningless since they both assert the right to hold so-called ‘enemy combatants’ without charge, so they could simply move the people being detained to another facility.

“Both maintain that the executive can initiate war. Both — like Bush now — have said that they would not allow further waterboarding and that it is torture, but neither has said that they would prosecute the conceded waterboarding of the Bush administration. Likewise, neither has said they would prosecute members of the current administration for other criminal conduct, such as well-known criminal violations of the FISA statute. Neither Obama nor McCain has disclaimed the authority claimed by Bush to order current or former White House officials to defy congressional subpoena.”

Fein recently wrote the piece “Palin vs. Palin.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167