capoten generic
Categories
Law Politics The Opinionsphere

The Source of Authority

I have my opinion of this statement, but it is somewhat more subtle than most who read this blog might guess – but here’s Dick Cheney being interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday:

The president of the United States now for 50 years is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a football that contains the nuclear codes that he would use and be authorized to use in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States.

He could launch a kind of devastating attack the world’s never seen. He doesn’t have to check with anybody. He doesn’t have to call the Congress. He doesn’t have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in. [my emphasis]

It’s interesting that though Cheney continually refers to the powers of the Constitution throughout his remarks, grounding his justifications of various extraordinary actions in his unique interpretations of the Constitution, his final source of authority is “the nature of the world we live in.” I don’t think this is the worst possible justification – but it is a hypocritical one for someone who opposed a judiciary that saw the Constitution as changing as the nature of the world we live in changed.