Monday, January 29, 2007

Civil Discourse

The National Constitution Center's program featured visiting scholars Laurence Tribe and Theodore Olson with Jeffrey Toobin as moderator. Tribe and Olson were involved in the infamous Gore v. Bush case.

The Kirby Auditorium welcomed a standing room only crowd. C-Span was on hand to tape the event.

Toobin skillfully moved the discussion to touch upon the following topics: Separation of Powers; Signing Statements; Writ of Habeous Corpus; the pesonality of the Supreme Court; Libby Trial and of course Bush's War.

Both scholars agreed that if the Congress does not exert its rights clearly spelled out in Article I of the Constitution, a strong executive will seize that power. They reiterated that in the Federalist Papers anticipated this type of friction between these two branches of government. Olson cited Jefferson, Lincoln and FDR as strong Presidents who exerted their executive privilege/authority. (I am so offended that he would speak of Bush 2 in the same breath).

After an hour of lively civil discourse, the scholars took questions from the engaged audience for the balance of the program.

Tribe did remind the audience that "contrary to what Bush thinks, we have a Constitution and he is not above the law."

"The strength of the Constitution, lies in the will of the people to defend it."
-- Thomas Edison

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