Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oaths of Office

Every time I click a link and read a post at Daily Kos I remember why I took that site off my daily reading list long ago. A poster there the other day insists that Obama should fire Fitzgerald and rehire him, pursuant to his (Obama’s) oath of office.

The “fire and rehire” bit is based on the tradition that all Attorneys General tender their resignation when a new president enters office, and that Obama should accept the resignation and then reappoint him. First, that is not “fire and rehire,” because he would not have done the firing. Second, if he wants to keep Fitzgerald, he can merely not accept the resignation.

Then he quotes Article II, Section 3 of the constitution and claims that it requires Obama to prosecute people in the Bush Administration who have committed acts which are against the laws of this nation. I’ll underline the part that he claims is grounds for that requirement.
…he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

That requires a particular type of conduct of the current president, and of the people answering to that president. It does not say that the current president shall examine all of the acts of man that occurred before he took office and take action for wrongdoing that occurred before his responsibility to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed” went into effect.

I do believe that the actions of the Bush Administration should be investigated; and that if any actions by any member of that group are found which were in violation of our laws then criminal prosecution should be rigorously pursued. That investigation should include everyone, up to and including Dick Cheney and George Bush.

I think it would be a very real shame if Obama does not do this, and it would be to some degree a breach of his promise to those who elected him, but I do not think that such a failure would be a violation of his oath of office. That claim is just plain silliness.


  1. Off topic, but.....

    Just stopping by one of my old haunts to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas, and here's to a happy, healthy and prosperous 2009 for you!

  2. Anonymous12:26 PM

    I agree that that passage does not require the current president to go after any of the previous office holders, other than a general purpose investigation and prosecution of malfeasance of any kind.

    In other words, normal judicial activities, not purely political ones. Okay, Bush/Cheny et al acitivities are suspect and may well warrant looking into, but please do not turn this into a witchhunt and fishing expedition simply to please anti-Bushites.

    There is too much on the plate to deal with and the idea it to look forward not behind.