September 07, 2003
More Thuds from the Topkapi Palace

A White House official who works on "homeland security' issues tells Washington Post reporter John Mintz that "Not a lot is getting done at the top of the [Homeland Security] department, and nobody's making them focus on it.... Nobody's got the fortitude to say, 'Sit down and shut up.' . . . It's sad." Add to this other administration officials saying that "Ridge, widely liked and respected for his hard work, is not detail-oriented and has delegated most tasks to his chief of staff, Bruce M. Lawlor," and Deputy Secretary Gordon R. England's firing/resignation to return to his previous job as Secretary of the Navy--after "Lawlor quickly cut England out of a number of important decisions, and England is widely seen as inattentive... their colleagues said," and you have all the signs of a substantial administrative failure....

Posted by DeLong at 05:01 PM

August 31, 2002
What the Founders Envisioned

Dan Kohn says something very smart about the falsity of the Bush administration's claims about "enemy combatants": Dan Kohn's Blog: ...The thing I don't understand about conservatives' claim that "enemy combatants" like Jose Padilla weren't envisioned by the framers is how obviously the text of the constitution contradicts them.... To quote Article III, Section 3: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court. The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted. Why did the framers so carefully spell out what was required for a treason conviction and that it couldn't be lasting on the family (corruption of blood)? Because they were responding to the numerous abuses that had occurred in England of unfairly accusing and prosecuting political enemies, under the rubric of treason, while denying the accused the rights of due process. I have little doubt...

Posted by DeLong at 03:45 PM

August 02, 2002
Tom Tomorrow's Quote of the Day

Tom Tomorrow's quote of the day: Senator Robert Byrd: This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow "Since when did the al Qaeda become our role model for labor-management relations? I thought we were out to destroy al Qaeda--not emulate them." --Robert Byrd (as reported in the Wall Street Journal), in response to Budget Director Mitchell Daniels Jr., who tried to defend the administration's union-busting Homeland Security provisions by noting that "al Qaeda doesn't have a three-foot-thick" book of labor regulations....

Posted by DeLong at 07:29 AM

June 20, 2002
Our Government Is Going About This All Wrong: If Civil Liberties Are to be Suspended, Then Suspend Them--Constitutionally

Eugene Volokh worries that "military tribunals, military detentions, and the like" raise fundamental questions "that go to the heart of the actual language of the Constitution": | The Volokh Conspiracy | But the main issues raised by military tribunals, military detentions, and the like have very little to do with the Warren Court decisions.... These matters raise fundamental questions that go to the heart of the actual language of the Constitution.... Now there are good arguments that, as a matter of the original meaning of the text (though not of its letter), and as a matter of American constitutional traditions, there are certain implied exceptions to the Bill of Rights with regard to enemy combatants... but the arguments of its critics cannot be rebutted simply by denouncing some "Warren Court set of rights" -- it's the Framers' set of rights that's clearly at issue here. I suspect that he is wrong about the letter of the Constitution (although--thank God!--I am not a lawyer). Article I, Section 9, Clause 2: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." This is a case of...

Posted by DeLong at 08:42 PM