Restoring checks and balances

How do we fix the current trend of wireless wiretapping, illegal torture, suspension of habeas corpus, and other monarchical prerogatives imposed by the Bush administration? Aziz Huq, Director of the Liberty and National Security Project at the Brennan Center, outlines twelve steps to restore constitutional balance:

For the President and Presidential candidates: Mr. Huq asks the President and candidates for executive office to renounce the theory of the monarchical presidency (first offered by then Rep. Dick Cheney in the minority report on the Iran-Contra scandal), renounce the use of signing statements to circumvent the law, and agree to disclose past legal opinions that have influenced the President's use of national security powers.

For Congress: Mr. Huq proposes an immediate, articulated official end to government-sanctioned torture, restoration of habeas corpus, greater Congressional oversight of intelligence activities and the Inspector General system, increased regulation of claims of executive privilege, reformation of the Office of Legal Counsel, and, enactment of new laws to limit excessive secrecy and the use of the state secrets privilege. The last step of the proposal calls for the creation of a new "Church Committee" to conduct a "thorough accounting of national security policy and its systemic flaws."

(Read the full report here.)

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