Era uma vez no país dos checks and balances

Uma história “exemplar”

Howards was walking his 7-year-old son to a piano practice, when he saw Cheney surrounded by a group of people in an outdoor mall area, shaking hands and posing for pictures with several people. Howards and his son walked to about two-to-three feet from where Cheney was standing, and said to the vice president, “I think your policies in Iraq are reprehensible,” or words to that effect, then walked on. Ten minutes later, according to Howards’ lawsuit, he and his son were walking back through the same area, when they were approached by Secret Service agent Virgil D. “Gus” Reichle Jr., who asked Howards if he had “assaulted” the vice president. Howards denied doing so, but was nonetheless placed in handcuffs and taken to the Eagle County Jail.

The lawsuit filed today alleges that Howards was arrested in retaliation for having exercised his First Amendment right of free speech, and that his arrest violated his Fourth Amendment protection against unlawful seizure.

O Novo Paradigma

Na New Yorker, Jane Mayer ensaia um relato perturbador acerca das mentes legais que, sob a liderança de David S. Addington, suportam Dick Cheney, uma equipa que parece revelar uma notória incapacidade para governar em democracia sob o incómodo dos tais “checks and balances”:

“Known as the New Paradigm, this strategy rests on a reading of the Constitution that few legal scholars share—namely, that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, has the authority to disregard virtually all previously known legal boundaries, if national security demands it. Under this framework, statutes prohibiting torture, secret detention, and warrantless surveillance have been set aside. A former high-ranking Administration lawyer who worked extensively on national-security issues said that the Administration’s legal positions were, to a remarkable degree, “all Addington.” Another lawyer, Richard L. Shiffrin, who until 2003 was the Pentagon’s deputy general counsel for intelligence, said that Addington was “an unopposable force.”

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