Now that Samuel Alito has passed through the Judiciary committee on to the full Senate, we are one step closer to the fructification of Alito's idea of stronger "Unitary Executive" power for George W. Bush. Mr. Bush has already trampled all over the Constitution, the Congress, and the American People with warrantless wiretapping, crossing his fingers with his new "Presidential Signing Statement" so he still has the prerogative to follow a law or not at his own digression. After signing McCain's bill banning torture, Bush issued a statement Dec. 30 saying, in effect, that he would enforce the new law only if he wanted to. ("Ominous sign / The president's growing disregard for the law" Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Jan. 20)
Such extreme measures are not about obtaining information on terrorists, it's about a potential breach of the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment states that warrants can be obtained only with proof of probable cause. The administration ignores these words and asserts that searches must be "reasonable" and do not require a warrant. The White House is claiming that Democrats are the only ones objecting to the program, but Republicans like our own Arlen Spector have offered some of the harshest criticism. Congress did not give the president authority to conduct the secret program. Republicans and Democrats believe the president may have broken the law.