'The president is always right.' (video, then and now)

So, 21 hours after I begged readers to "be happy" about the Supreme Court's Hamdan decision, I'm thinking it's about time to get righteously indignant again. And ready for action.

First, there's this VIDEO of Justice Dept. head counsel Steven Bradbury, under heavy questioning from Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) over where the president got the idea that the Hamdan case directly addressed the legality of Guantanamo Bay's existence (it didn't, it addressed the legality of the military tribunals...), saying:

"The President is always right."

Whuh? Huh?! Are you f#%&^ kidding me?

(Here, for the fun of it, is an audio recording of Nixon saying "...When the President does it, that means that it it is not illegal.")

Former AlterNet assistant editor Onnesha Roychoudhuri wrote:


What many assumed was that the administration would then go to congress to get what it wanted through legislation, but they appear to be preoccupied with publicly downplaying the applicability of the Geneva Conventions – insisting that it's not a policy shift, and that detainees have always been treated humanely in compliance with Article III (insert snark here).
Add to that Bush's bizarro argument that the decision in Hamdan somehow legitimizes the existence of Guantanamo and you're apt to lose sight of what Hamdan was about.
Namely, that congress' authorization to use military force (AUMF), or the conference of "war powers" to the president, overrides, well, everything, and that domestic spying can continue and that, as Justice's Steven Bradbury said: "The president is always right."

Marty Lederman writes:
"Whatever else one may think of the DOJ’s arguments in support of the NSA program, the notion that Hamdan "does not affect" the relevant legal analysis is so implausible as to suggest either bad faith or an audacious design by the Administration to provoke a confrontation with the Court (a confrontation that the Administration must suspect it would almost certainly lose if the case were considered by the current array of SCOTUS Justices)."
(C&L, Thinkprogress, Balkinization)

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