Chuck Baldwin, Founder and Minister of the Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL, issued the following statement through his Communications Director, Mary Starrett, in an Aug. 11, 2008 email to ProCon.org:
"It depends on what is meant by the unitary executive theory." Aug. 11, 2008 Chuck Baldwin
Bob Barr, former US House Representative (R-GA), in a July 16, 2008 press release "Barr Urges House Judiciary to Hold President Accountable; Testifies on Executive Branch Abuses" on his official candidate website, stated:
"If I am elected, I will stop using the 'state secrets' doctrine to hide government misconduct, start following the Bill of Rights, urge Congress to roll back recent legislation expanding surveillance of American citizens under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, order executive branch officials properly subpoenaed by Congress to testify, and stop misusing 'executive privilege' to avoid being accountable to Congress and the people." July 16, 2008 Bob Barr
John McCain, US Senator (R-AZ), stated in a Dec. 20, 2007 www.boston.com article titled "John McCain Q&A":
Q: "Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?
[John McCain:] There are some areas where the statutes don't apply, such as in the surveillance of overseas communications. Where they do apply, however, I think that Presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, no matter what the situation is.
[Q:] Okay, so is that a no, in other words, federal statute trumps inherent power in that case, warrantless surveillance?
[McCain:] I don't think the president has the right to disobey any law...
[Q:] Under what circumstances, if any, would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?
[McCain:] As President, I won't have signing statements. I will either sign or veto any legislation that comes across my desk." Dec. 20, 2007 John McCain
Cynthia McKinney, former US House Representative (D-GA), in an excerpt of a Dec. 27, 2006 speech made at the US House of Representatives and entered into the Congressional Record, stated:
"George Walker Bush has subverted the very nature of his office by seeking to add to his office extraordinary and unconstitutional powers and privileges...
In taking his oath of office, the President swore to 'preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States' to the best of his ability, which includes the duty not to abuse his powers or transgress their limits, the duty not to violate the rights of citizens, including those guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and not to act in derogation of powers vested elsewhere by the Constitution, George Walker Bush, in his conduct while President of the United States has not only failed in this regard, but has demonstrated a pattern of disregard or contempt for the Constitution itself, as he clearly demonstrated in November 2005 when he shouted at a group of Republican lawmakers, 'Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It's just a [expletive] piece of paper!'...
George Walker Bush has sought to arrogate unprecedented power to his executive office and to undermine the system of check and balances established by the Founders, by using war and national emergency as the basis for his claims in support of a unitary presidency." Dec. 27, 2006 Cynthia McKinney
Ralph Nader, attorney, author, and political activist, stated in an Apr. 8, 2006 article titled "American Caesar" on CommonDreams.org:
"Unbridled Presidential authority is un-American whether in peacetime, wartime or fighting a gang whose exaggerated power has served Bush and Cheney very well politically. How better to silence the Democrats, stifle or chill public dissent, distract attention from domestic necessities, until their post-Katrina debacle, enrich their donating corporate buddies with military contracts and concentrate more lawless power in the White House at the expense of the courts and Congress than by breaking our constitutional system of separation of powers?" Apr. 8, 2006 Ralph Nader
Barack Obama, US Senator (D-IL), in a May 25, 2006 article titled "Senator Barack Obama Floor Statement General Michael Hayden Nomination" on his US Senate website, stated:
"As a nation, we have to find the right balance between privacy and security, between executive authority to face threats and uncontrolled power...We have to find a way to give the President the power he needs to protect us, while making sure he doesn't abuse that power. It is possible to do that. We have done it before, we could do it again." May 25, 2006 Barack Obama
(Candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria appear
below in black and white and in alphabetical order by party.)
Hillary Clinton, US Senator (D-NY), stated in an Oct. 10, 2007 interview with the Boston Globe Editorial Board, from a transcript emailed to ProCon.org on Apr. 28, 2008:
"...I don't believe in the unitary Executive. I don't quite know where Cheney's fourth branch of government fits into the unitary Executive, but whatever it is, I don't believe in it...
I think you have to restore the checks and balances and the separation of powers, which means reining in the Presidency. You know, I think, maybe with the exception of Nixon, in recent times, you know, most Presidents have struggled with this. You know, they've tried to get the right balance. I don't think President Bush has struggled with it at all. He's tried to assume as much power as possible. No argument really works, because he views his position as unassailable, and I think you have to begin to rein that in in the office by the person who holds it demonstrating that we've gotten through a lot of tough times in our country without, you know, the extent of Presidential power being claimed, as this President has...
Obviously, I'm not going to appoint judges who are lock-step in line with that unitary, Federalist society theory of government, which I think is very destructive to the, you know, to the whole body politic over time." Oct. 10, 2007 Hillary Clinton
Mike Gravel, former US Senator (D-AK), in a Jan. 25, 2008 article titled "Impeachment Statement by Presidential Candidate Senator Mike Gravel" on the New World Order Truth website, stated:
"This administration has illegally declared that it has supreme overriding authority. The Vice President and the President have accumulated and consolidated unprecedented power that has replaced the co-equal system of checks and balances mandated by the Constitution with a new Imperial Presidency. This imperialism has given the President far-reaching powers that our founding fathers would quickly recognize as tyranny.
The illegitimate authority of this newly constructed imperial Presidency Ã¢â‚¬â€œ this Supreme Commander-in-Chief created by Cheney and Bush Ã¢â‚¬â€œ has replaced the Rule-of-Law based on the Constitution and Bill of Rights." Jan. 25, 2008 Mike Gravel
Alan Keyes, former Assistant US Secretary of State, stated in a Mar. 28, 2005 article titled "Judicial Review and Executive Responsibility" on renewamerica.com:
"No one of the branches of government can have supreme and exclusive decision-making authority, because no one branch can, by itself, safely be allowed to exercise the whole power of government in any circumstance. The legislature makes the laws, but is powerless to execute them. The judiciary can decide cases in light of the law, but has no authority either to execute decisions once taken, or control the content of the law. The executive has the exclusive power of direct action, but no lawful authority to act apart from the provisions of the laws and the constitution, or the specific judgments of the judiciary...
The branches are subject to the laws and the constitution, but they are not directly subject to either of the other branches. The legislature, for example, cannot simply dictate to the courts the outcome of any particular case. Neither, however can the courts dictate to the legislature the content of any law. The legislature can establish programs and mandates for executive action, but cannot simply dictate to the executive the particular action to be taken in pursuance of its legislation. Because each branch substantively controls the power vested in it, the other branches cannot simply dictate the use of that power." Mar. 28, 2005 Alan Keyes
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated in an article titled "Torture, War, and Presidential Powers" on the Ron Paul Library website (accessed May 8, 2008):
"A Wall Street Journal article last week detailed a Department of Defense memo that discusses the legality of interrogation and torture methods in the wake of events at Abu Gharib. The document reportedly advises that the President has authority to order almost any action, including physical or psychological torture, despite federal laws to the contrary. The Pentagon lawyers who drafted the memo were not shy about blatantly asserting that the Commander-In-Chief can break the law when necessary, as evidenced by this quote from the memo: 'Sometimes the greater good for society will be accomplished by violating the literal language of the criminal law.'...
The greater issue presented by the Defense Department memo, however, is the threat posed by unchecked executive power. Defense Department lawyers essentially argue that a President's powers as Commander-In-Chief override federal laws prohibiting torture, and the Justice Department appears to agree. But the argument for extraordinary wartime executive powers has been made time and time again, always with bad results and the loss of our liberties. War has been used by Presidents to excuse the imprisonment of American citizens of Japanese descent, to silence speech, to suspend habeas corpus, and even to control entire private industries...
A strong separation of powers is at the heart of our constitutional liberties. No branch of government should be able to act unilaterally, no matter how cumbersome the legislative process may be. The beauty of the Constitution is that it encourages some degree of gridlock in government, making it harder for any branch to act capriciously or secretly. When we give any president- one man- too much power, we build a foundation for future tyranny." May 8, 2008 Ron Paul