08/06/07 Executive Privilege

I will confess that when the whole scandal about the firing of seven U.S. Attorneys I didn’t find myself too captivated by the entire ordeal.  It was one of those incidents where, sure, I knew it was important, but I was having trouble rousing myself to be captivated by it. Maybe it just seemed like just more of the same. But the larger debates that have arisen from it are another story-such as the one over executive privilege.

 President Eisenhower was the heaviest user of executive privilege-he invoked it over 40 times in response to demands from Senator Joseph McCarthy that White House aides testify before Congress.   The last time an aide went to court for not complying with a congressional supeana was in 1983, when Environmental Protection Agency official Rita Lavelle was told by the Reagan Administration to not testify regarding the use of Superfund money.  The jury found her not guilty of contempt charges.

 The White House has asserted “executive privilege” as a reason to keep Bush Administration aides from testifying in Congress. According to a lot of things I have read, executive privilege lives in a sort of “constitutional wilderness.”  The concept seems to be generally accepted as an idea, but it’s scope and it’s weight are undetermined. 

Join us today as we discuss this issue.  What do you think?  Is President Bush going too far with who he is extending executive privilege too?  Is Congress on a witch hunt?