The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

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."

A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.