Cheney hints that one more vote was needed on the Supreme Court to fully implement the absolute powers of his unitary executive George W. Bush.
Cheney also argued that the President's wartime powers trump laws passed by Congress.
"The Congress has -- clearly has the ability to write statutes and has certain constitutional authorities granted in the Constitution," Cheney said. "But I would argue that they do not have the right by statute to alter presidential constitutional power. In other words, you can't override his constitutional authorities and responsibilities with a statute."
Cheney's chief regret appeared to be that the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly rejected the administration's argument that these presidential powers allowed Bush to ignore fundamental individual rights incorporated in the Constitution, such as the writ of habeas corpus, an ancient legal principle requiring a government to show cause for imprisoning a person.
"I think that, frankly, the basic decision they (the Supreme Court justices) made was wrong," Cheney said. "But it's their authority. The vote was 5-4."
In other words, Cheney was suggesting that the replacement of one more justice from the court's moderate wing by the likes of John Roberts or Samuel Alito – Bush's two appointees – would have swung the Supreme Court into a historic reinterpretation of the Constitution.
Essentially, such a Supreme Court would have made the President all powerful and eliminated the founding U.S. principle of "unalienable rights" for individuals, protected by a government based on checks and balances.
Under that new paradigm – of an endless "war on terror" and an Executive who decides whether someone is or is not an "enemy combatant" – the key pillars of the American Republic would have been in ruins.
Instead of a Republic in which citizens possessed fundamental liberties enshrined in the Constitution – as the Founders envisioned – Americans would become, in effect, subjects to a monarchical President, who would apportion – or deny – freedoms as he would see fit, click here http://www.commondreams.org/print/35776