This Opinion Could Be a Single Line
   by Vermont Bear

This opinion could be a single line. It could be a single question.  But the ramifications of the answer
to that single question are far greater than the question itself.  I believe however that it is however
one of the most important questions I may ever have to ask.  This question is how could an executive order
simply and without review, over ride a duly debated and enacted law passed by congress?

How could it be possible that the executive branch has the blanket authority to do such a thing?  How could
this possibly be constitutional?  How could this not violate the constitutionally delineated system of the
separation of powers and the constitutional statement of advise and consent between those powers?

If such an order is allowed to stand than what is to stop an over zealous president from issuing further
orders abridging the people's right to consent?  If it stands than one of the single most important founding
principles of our nation, "government at the consent of the governed" has ceased to exist.

If any branch of government or individual office holder within the government is allowed to withhold
information from the governed then they are free to act with blatant disregard for the constitution or
even the simple legality of their actions.

One of the reasons the Presidential Papers Act of 1978 was enacted was to not only make public the facts of
"Watergate" but to mandate that the papers of every presidential administration be made public so that
each and every future president must never forget that not only do they serve at the behest of the people but
that they are indeed accountable to those they are sworn to serve.

The further question that begs an answer is what would a sitting president have to fear from the release of
the papers of a predecessor?  We could guess what Mr. Bush has to fear from Mr. Reagan's papers.
If I for one should venture to do so would I doubt concern for real national security issues would be the case.
I would further venture to guess that the personal liability of some present members of Mr. Bush's cabinet
and Mr. Bush's father the prior president Bush is more at stake here than national security.
If this in fact is the case I can think of no better phrase to describe this situation than "tough
noogies".  The law was in place during both Mr Reagan's and Mr. Bush Sr.'s administrations.
Executive privilege was not designed to place a president or any member of his cabinet above the law.
That is one the purposes of the presidential papers act.

The content of the character of every American including our elected officials is judged in their
daily lives by their deeds.  If those deeds run afoul of the law they then they must be judged under it.
If we are to remain as we state, a nation of laws then there can be no exception to the free exchange of
information germane to our right to consent and the fair and impartial enforcement of our laws, in this
case and in every case.

J.G. Schwam

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