3) INTERPRETATION BY THE PRESIDENT.-- As provided by the Constitution and by this section, the President has the authority for the United States to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions . . . .
Note that language. As provided by the Constitution, Bush "has the authority for the United States to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions." In other words, if Congress passes this monstrosity, and Bush signs it (the latter is a given), Congress and the President are agreeing that the Constitution gives Bush powers superior to those of the Supreme Court to interpret what the Geneva Conventions mean, and whether they apply.
That is horrible enough. It gets worse. Bush is attempting a direct attack on the principle, stated in Article III, section 1 of the Constitution, that the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts, not the President. This bill appears to be the opening salvo in an attack on Marbury v. Madison and the very principle of judicial review.
Think I'm overstating things? Listen to what Press Secretary Tony Snow said at a press conference today:
[Eric Brewer]: But isn't it the Supreme Court that's supposed to decide whether laws are unconstitutional or not?
Tony: No, as a matter of fact the president has an obligation to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. That is an obligation that presidents have enacted through signing statements going back to Jefferson. So, while the Supreme Court can be an arbiter of the Constitution, the fact is the President is the one, the only person who, by the Constitution, is given the responsibility to preserve, protect, and defend that document, so it is perfectly consistent with presidential authority under the Constitution itself.
Since Tony Snow, as far as I know, is not a constitutional scholar, someone (David Addington?) must have written those lines for him. Snow was quoting language from the last clause of Article II, section I of the Constitution, which states:
Before he enter on the execution of his office, [the President] shall take the following oath or affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Bush, aided and abetted by his lackeys in Congress, is attempting to use his oath of office as the constitutional basis for a claim that he, not the courts, is the final interpreter of the Constitution!
I think this is scary as all hell. If you agree, please recommend this diary.