The Constitution clearly defines the powers of the president
The Feb. 1 article, "Senate target: Bush's war powers," quotes Sen. Orrin Hatch as saying, "The president has inherent powers that Congress cannot take away." Sen. Hatch is wrong. The president has no powers other than those enumerated in the Constitution of the United States. And, the word "inherent" appears nowhere in the Constitution.
On the contrary, the Tenth Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The president and the federal government have only those powers delegated to them in the Constitution. In other words, if it's not in the Constitution, the president - and, indeed, the federal government - cannot do it.
Further, our Constitution says Congress shall "make all Laws" and the president "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." Nowhere in the Constitution is the president given the power to make, alter, or interpret the laws. The president can sign or veto laws; he cannot rewrite them.
Nor can he invent powers not delegated to him in the Constitution.
Regarding the Jan. 30 article, "Eco-vigilantes: All in 'The Family?' ": How could a firebomb symbolize respect for animals and the Earth - much less one consisting of "a napalm-like substance known as 'vegan Jell-O.' " Veganism isn't about forcing people to behave differently, and it sure isn't about napalm-like substances.
I appreciate knowing that we have constitutional rights, and civil rights lawyers to defend them. But as an animal-rights theorist, I have a responsibility to talk about the principles of animal rights. So, for the record: It's not making oneself vulnerable to law enforcement that makes one radical. It's not planning moves in secret.
Not even rescuing wild horses makes a person radical (though it's not that wild horses don't welcome freedom from government corrals). But what's changed through private acts of rescue? Officials still continually seize horses to mollify ranchers.
Radical activism in this case, then, would mean going to the root of the problem and dissuading the public from supporting animal agribusiness.
What many vegans bring to the table is nonviolence. In a world where coercion has, for so long, been the tedious norm, truly radical activism seeks and models a view in which respect prevails.
Legal director, Friends of Animals
In response to Helena Cobban's Oct. 13 Opinion column, "In Iraq, a rush toward democracy could trigger civil war": If Iraq could break up like Yugoslavia anyway, would it not make sense for the US to convene a conference among Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites in order that they may come to an agreement on a peaceful partition of the country? That would be US statesmanship at its best.
Such a deal would include agreements on oil, water, and other matters, such as retaining Baghdad as the shared capital of a possible future Iraqi confederation (just as Washington, D.C. is shared by and belongs to none of the states of the United States of America).
Bloodshed ended in the Balkans after the Dayton Accords were brokered. Why not give diplomacy a try in Iraq?
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