In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 25, 2007 / 13 Mar-Cheshvan 5768

The scope of presidential power

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Do we really want presidents who sign laws that they think are unconstitutional?"

It was a debate over the Bush administration's conduct in the war on terrorism. The discussion had turned to the president's heavy reliance on "signing statements" — written interpretations by President Bush of bills he has signed into law, frequently including the claim that one or more sections of the new law are unconstitutional and can therefore be ignored. One of the speakers, a critic of the administration's aggressive efforts since Sept. 11, 2001, to expand presidential power, was scornful.

"This notion that presidents in our system of government don't have to carry out laws authorized by Congress is absolutely preposterous," the speaker said. "If that were the case — if Congress's laws are merely advisory — why would you need a veto?" A president who disapproves of a bill should say so in a veto message — that's why the Constitution gives him veto power in the first place. Bush's hundreds of signing statements are an "open power grab" that Americans should find intolerable. "We ought to be adamantly opposed to any claim that the president doesn't have to abide by laws that Congress has passed and he has signed."

That may sound like Senator Hillary Clinton, who denounces the Bush administration's "concerted effort . . . to create a more powerful executive at the expense of both branches of government and of the American people" and promises to sharply roll back the use of signing statements if she becomes president.

But the speaker wasn't Clinton, nor any other liberal or Democrat. It was former Georgia congressman Bob Barr, a staunch conservative best known for his leading role in the 1999 impeachment of Bill Clinton. An outspoken defender of privacy rights and other civil liberties, Barr has long decried what he calls the "frightening erosion" of constitutional protections under Bush. At a forum hosted by the Boston chapter of the Federalist Society, he was debating another staunch conservative: John Yoo, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and a former Justice Department official whose thinking strongly influenced the administration's claims of presidential power after Sept. 11.

In a vivid illustration of the clash of ideas roiling the right these days, the two had come to tangle over the Terrorist Surveillance Program, the National Security Agency's warrantless interception of phone calls and e-mails into and out of the United States as part of the effort to defeat Al-Qaeda. Yoo acknowledged that the eavesdropping seems inconsistent with the federal statute that ordinarily requires a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before such domestic spying can occur.

But these aren't ordinary times, Yoo emphasized. The purpose of the Terrorist Surveillance Program is "to protect national security in wartime — and historically warrants haven't been required to conduct electronic surveillance of the enemy during wartime."

Moreover, a president is not obliged to blindly obey every act of Congress — especially not one that impinges on his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief.

Covert intelligence falls well within that authority, he argued, and presidents have long ordered electronic surveillance without regard to congressional or judicial strictures. Long before Pearl Harbor, for example, President Franklin Roosevelt "ordered the electronic surveillance of every communication in the country, regardless of whether it was international or not, so that the FBI could try to find Nazi saboteurs." FDR's order went far beyond anything Bush has done, and did so "even though a Supreme Court decision and a federal statute on the books at the time prohibited electronic surveillance of any kind without a judicial warrant." In fact, Roosevelt's wiretapping continued even after House and Senate leaders made it clear that Congress would not pass legislation to authorize it.

Barr was having none of it. Yoo's argument, he said, amounts to a claim that the three branches of the federal government are equal, but one is more equal than others — and that way lies the loss of freedom. "Do we want to live in a society where we know that any time we pick up the phone and call somebody overseas . . . the government may be listening in? That's the fundamental problem — what kind of society do we want to live in?"

No, said Yoo — the fundamental dynamic is the tradeoff made necessary by the terrorists' deadly war against us. On the one hand, "yes, you might lose your expectation of privacy in international communications," he said. "But that's only one side. The other side is: Would you be willing to trade some of that loss of privacy to be better protected from terrorist attacks?"

The bottom line, of course, is that there is no bottom line. Disputes over the proper scope of federal power, and the deference to which each branch is entitled, and the balance between national security and civil liberty, have been a feature of American life from the start. The struggle for political equilibrium is built into our democratic architecture.

These debates began long before Bush arrived; they'll continue after he leaves. We should welcome them as signs not just of factiousness, but of strength: Americans argue about fundamental freedoms because Americans are fundamentally free.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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