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As Circuit Conference Ponders Matters of State, Yoo Is Missing

Publication Date: 
July 30, 2008
Daily Journal
John Roemer

Professor and Former Dean Kathleen M. Sullivan is quoted in a Daily Journal article about a panel discussion held during Monday's Ninth Circuit Conference:

...Sullivan, a former Stanford Law School dean who now heads the school's Constitutional Law Center, blasted the Bush administration's practices of undercutting legislation with signing statements and of keeping his acts secret.

"There is no authority to declare vague, ambivalent signing statements as the current president has done," she said. "And if the shroud of presidential secrecy over rendition and torture or the wiretapping of citizens has to await disclosure by the New York Times, that is an extremely troubling presidential arrogation of power."

Sullivan noted that the President can in fact go to Congress and get authority for most things. "Congress has been most cooperative, some would say supine," she said. A problem, she noted, is that the framers of the Constitution did not anticipate the degree of partisan loyalty that has grown to the point where members of the legislative branch tend to roll over for presidents with whom they are aligned.

Her remarks on the desirability of a chief executive working to enhance, not diminish, civil liberties drew the warmest applause of the morning.