Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Presidential Candidates on Presidential Power

I missed this one back in December when it ran, and I haven't seen it referred to since.

Boston Globe reporter Charlie Savage sent each of the major presidential candidates a ten-question survey on Executive powers, and recorded the answers of each.

Obviously, quite a few have dropped out since then, but it is worthwhile to compare those of Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Huckabee, which you can do side-by-side, such as:

Do you agree or disagree with the statement made by former Attorney General Gonzales in January 2007 that nothing in the Constitution confers an affirmative right to habeas corpus, separate from any statutory habeas rights Congress might grant or take away?

Disagree strongly.

I disagree with Attorney General Gonzales. I have long believed that the right to habeas corpus offers fundamental protection against unchecked government power. It is a constitutionally guaranteed right. The Supreme Court should reaffirm this principle in the Boumediene case now pending and correct the mistake Congress made when it attempted to rescind habeas corpus through the Military Commissions Act.

On that one, the Supreme Court just heard oral arguments in the Boumedienne case and it is expected to rule early next year on that question. So I will be interested in seeing how the Court rules.

Huckabee declined to answer this question.

The devil, as they say, is in the details. These are pretty important details.

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