As they advocate for limited government, the Republican Presidential candidates hold expansive views about the scope of the executive powers they would wield if elected.
As Republicans prepare to select their 2012 Presidential nominee, Newt Gingrich, Jon M. Huntsman Jr., Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have detailed their views on executive power in response to questions posed by The New York Times, which has published their responses online.
Most of them see the commander-in-chief as having the authority to take extraordinary actions if he decides doing so is necessary to protect national security. Only Mr. Paul argued for a more limited view of Presidential power.
The other four candidates echoed expansive legal theories advanced by President George W. Bush. In significant ways, they dovetailed as well with the posture taken by President Obama since taking office.
Asked to describe the circumstances under which the Constitution permits a President to order the targeted killing of a citizen who has not been sentenced to death by a court, Mr. Gingrich, Mr. Huntsman, Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney said that a President could order the killing of a citizen who joins an enemy force that is at war with the U.S.
Mr. Paul described the circumstances in which a President could order the extrajudicial killing of a citizen: “None.” Similarly, while Mr. Paul said that a President should not order a military attack without Congressional permission unless there was an imminent threat, the other four candidates agreed that a President could do so.
Mr. Gingrich in particular has taken an assertive view about the scope of the Presidency, saying Presidents may lawfully ignore Supreme Court rulings.
Presidential power has grown since the early years of the cold war and ratcheted forward under the Bush administration. As a candidate, Sen. Obama accused Pres. Bush of undermining the Constitution.
After taking office, Pres. Obama ordered adherence to antitorture rules; justified counterterrorism policies as authorized by Congress and consistent with international law; and sought to handle terrorism cases that arise on domestic soil exclusively through the criminal justice system and not the military.
Via The New York Times.
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