September 16, 2009


The Justice Department has declared that President Obama can disregard a law forbidding State Department officials from attending United Nations meetings led by representatives of nations considered to be sponsors of terrorism. . . . In the new opinion, David Barron, the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel, wrote that the statute — a restriction Congress imposed in the State Department’s annual budget bill — “unconstitutionally infringes on the president’s authority to conduct the nation’s diplomacy, and the State Department may disregard it.”

His opinion cites many examples of previous administrations of both parties taking a similar view. Among them, Mr. Bush used signing statements to instruct the State Department to interpret identical restrictions as “advisory” rather than mandatory, and his administration sent officials to a Development Program meeting in January.

When Bush did this kind of stuff, it was evidence of tyranny. Now, it’s just business as usual. Everybody does it!

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