A series of judicial defeats is highlighting the constitutional conflict that President's Bush's commander-in-chief claims have created. Much of the president's position was laid out by legal aides from Vice-President Cheney's staff, namely David Addington, the Chief-of-Staff.
A comprehensive look at the problems with the president's stand were laid out in a July 3rd article in the New Yorker, which details the "new paradigm" plan - a plan that has the president essentially avoiding any and all oversight or check and balances to the Executive Branch as mandated by the Constitution.
From the article:
"Bruce Fein, a Republican legal activist, who voted for Bush in both Presidential elections, and who served as associate deputy attorney general in the Reagan Justice Department, said that Addington and other Presidential legal advisers had 'staked out powers that are a universe beyond any other Administration. This President has made claims that are really quite alarming. He's said that there are no restraints on his ability, as he sees it, to collect intelligence, to open mail, to commit torture, and to use electronic surveillance. If you used the President's reasoning, you could shut down Congress for leaking too much. His war powers allow him to declare anyone an illegal combatant. All the world's a battlefield. According to this view, he could kill someone in Lafayette Park if he wants! It's got the sense of Louis XIV: 'I am the State.'"
The President certainly has rights to interpret the Constitutional authority of his office. Guided by his vice-president, however, he has steered into dangerous waters.
Read the entire article - it's worth the time and explains what is about to shape much debate for a massive political battle as the fall elections get closer.