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Obama pledges review of White House powers instigated by Bush

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Daniel Nasaw
London Guardian
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Barack Obama yesterday evening pledged to review executive orders George Bush issued during his White House tenure if elected president, and excise any that “trample on liberty”.

US presidents have leeway to direct federal government policy without the approval of Congress or the courts – but to his critics, Bush has used executive orders to push his conservative policies to the edge of legality. For example, Bush used an executive order to breathe new life into the CIA’s terror interrogation program that allowed harsh questioning of suspects.

In a meeting with House Democrats last night, Obama said if he were elected in November, his attorney general, the top lawyer on the White House staff, would review Bush’s orders. Obama said he would eliminate “those that trample on liberty,” according to congressman Jerrold Nadler, who gave details on the meeting to the Associated Press.

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Bush’s presidency has been marked by a drive for greater executive power, partly due to vice-president Dick Cheney and other White House officials’ adherence to the “unity executive” theory, which holds that the executive branch of the US government may not be constrained by legislative or judicial action.

Bush’s increasing use of the executive order to craft federal policy without input or consent of Congress has previously been an issue in the presidential campaign.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 1:02 pm

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