The Obama Constitution: 48 Hours Later

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Barack Obama's first full day in office was full of decisions related to questions of Executive power and the Constitution: an order to close Guantanamo; a freeze on last minute Bush regulations; an executive order on secrecy; and the suspension of military commissions. Daphne Eviatar, legal correspondent for the Washington Independent, provides a Washington update.


Daphne Eviatar

Comments [24]

hjs from 11211

roberts should be impeached!

Jan. 23 2009 01:21 AM
hjs from 11211

Jan. 23 2009 01:19 AM
robb from long island

Obama closes Guantanamo. Osama so moved by action he declares end to Jihad, wishes Israel a long life and endorses gay marriage. Yeah sure!

Jan. 22 2009 03:21 PM
Peter from Sunset Park


Yeah, I don't agree with your uncivil assessment. I would be happy to discuss issues with you though. When you grow tired of asking me to seek therapy, grow tired of pretending that anyone who disagrees with you must be me, grow tired of using snarkiness in place of civil discussion, and when you are ready to discuss issues in a civil manner, Peter from Sunset is here.

take care,


Jan. 22 2009 11:09 AM
Wilma from NYC

Other Peter from Brooklyn, : )

Great link thanks for the info.

Jan. 22 2009 11:09 AM
Other Peter (not from Sunset Park) from Brooklyn

One more comment on Guantanmo, which Brian might want to focus on in a future show:

Brian mentioned the question of ex-prisoners at Guantanamo who are said to have "returned to the battlefield," Prof. Mark Denbeaux of Seton Hall University has extensively debunked the numbers put out by the Bush administration and its supporters.

For example, one group of ex-prisoners were listed as "returned to the battlefield" because their lawyer wrote an op-ed article criticizing US detention policy. (See Denbeaux's interview on the Rachel Maddow show on 1/16/09, at 5:50 on the video link here:

That web page also has a long list of links to Denbeaux's academic work with detailed refutation of these Bush administration claims. I think he'd make an interesting guest on the air.

Jan. 22 2009 10:59 AM
Wilma from NYC

However you want to frame torture it is still torture!

Jan. 22 2009 10:57 AM
Peter from Sunset Park


did you really use the term "animal"? That is not very civil. I object. Funny how the mods let such mean spirited language go unchallenged yet reguarly delete posts I make, only to repost them at a later time once they realize their mistakes.

Jan. 22 2009 10:50 AM
Peter from Sunset Park


Are you joining hjs in being paranoid? As I said yesterday, dismissing a viewpoint by being paranoid about postings is, in my opinion, a weak argument.

A hyper advocate of torture you say? That is like me saying you are a hyper advocate of terrorism. That is not civil and I won’t do it.

I think torture is ugly, I also think that terrorism is ugly. I choose protecting the innocent over protecting terrorists every time. If torturing a terrorist can stop a woman from being raped, a child from being abducted, etc. I am all for it. My duty, as a human being, is to protect those around me, not the people trying to hurt them.

I encourage you to engage in civil discourse Wilma. During the last couple of weeks I have been trying very hard to only write things on these boards that I can hear myself saying to someone in person. If you held yourself to the same standard, it would be a better world.

Your friend from Sunset,


Jan. 22 2009 10:47 AM
licnyc from queens

It is very sad to see people who confuse reality with TV shows like 24.

Jan. 22 2009 10:46 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

Here's a quote from the Washington Post article I mentioned on the air, and the link:
"The CIA inspector general is investigating a growing number of what it calls "erroneous renditions," according to several former and current intelligence officials.
"One official said about three dozen names fall in that category; others believe it is fewer. The list includes several people whose identities were offered by al Qaeda figures during CIA interrogations, officials said. One turned out to be an innocent college professor who had given the al Qaeda member a bad grade, one official said."

Jan. 22 2009 10:40 AM
Leo from Queens

I assume one would gain lots of weight if you are in an 8x8 cage for 23 hours a day and you are fed carbohydrates.

I assume these people - whether they were terrorists or farmers just caught in drag nets - had a more active life in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Jan. 22 2009 10:39 AM
mc from Brooklyn

Susan #1, You speak my mind.

S Block #3,
My recollection is the same as yours. Guantanamo was supposed to keep them out of reach of Federal Courts and to strip them of Constitutional protections. The Geneva Conventions went out the window because John Yoo said they were "quaint."

Jan. 22 2009 10:39 AM
hjs from 11211

don't YOU get it we have laws in this country. we are not animals!

Jan. 22 2009 10:37 AM


Mark Bittman LOST 30 or 40 pounds by eating more vegetables -- does that make the New York Times GUILTY of terrorism?

Jan. 22 2009 10:36 AM
Wilma from NYC

It is amazing how some people can advocate for torture!

Jan. 22 2009 10:35 AM
John from Brooklyn

Note to Brian (and to the media, in general):

Please do not gloss the seriousness of the horrible things that have happened at Guantanamo by calling it "Gitmo."

It is precisely because "Gitmo" is a name for a pet or fuzzy toy that that joke name was introduced.

Please call it what it is: Guantanamo.

Jan. 22 2009 10:34 AM
BRF from Brooklyn

I had the same question as S Block. Regardless of what you feel should be done with the prisoners, I was under the impression the Geneva Convention only applies to uniformed members of an organized force, with a clear chain of command, etc. It's not to say its spirit shouldn't be followed even here, but was there a decision to break it, or just a decision that it didn't apply?

Jan. 22 2009 10:32 AM
Wilma from NYC

I hope this is not Peter from Sunset Park Brooklyn, he regularly comments on this blog and is a hyper advocate of torture!!!

Jan. 22 2009 10:32 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

It is great to have a President that is moving quickly to address the injustices that the Bush Administration committed in the name of "national security." Go Obama!

Jan. 22 2009 10:31 AM
Sean Dwyer from Manhattan

The U.S. would never consent to an International War Crimes proceeding: that would open the door for investigating and prosecuting Bush administration officials.

Jan. 22 2009 10:30 AM
S Block from NYC

I just heard on the show that the detainees were sent to Guantanamo to keep them outside the Geneva Conventions. I'm hardly an expert, but my recollection is different. I thought it was located in Guantanamo to keep the detainees outside the US court system, and the circumstances of the detained "enemy combatants" (who are not representatives of a foreign govt's military) was what did not qualify them for Geneva Convention protections. Though, I also don't believe that anybody ever said "we aren't going to follow the Geneva Conventions"

Jan. 22 2009 10:27 AM

banning torture because it doesn't work is not a moral position, just common sense -- let's not conflate/extrapolate...

Jan. 22 2009 10:26 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

How long can the GOP hold us hostage with the Holder nomination after eight years of bad government?

Jan. 22 2009 10:23 AM

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