Was Dick Cheney Unconstitutional?
Law professor Glenn Reynolds explores that question in this recent law review essay. His findings: the kind of extreme delegation of presidential authority to the VP that happened in the Bush-Cheney administration was probably unconstitutional. That finding carries all the more weight given that Reynolds is a conservative, and the man behind a widely followed conservative blog, Instapundit. Naturally, we've had plenty of mentions of the nefarious one over the last six-plus years. But we'd especially point you to this uniquely impressive piece by the New Yorker's Jane Meyer (which we picked as the best magazine article of 2006), which was the first to comprehensively document how the Veep's office hijacked the presidency. The Washington Post's Barton Gellman followed up not long after that with an equally impressive and richly reported series (which ultimately won him a Pulitzer) about Cheney. It was eventually expanded into a book. As long as you're on the subject, I'd also recommend a well-done piece published in The Nation a few months ago, which explored Cheney's "dispiriting legacy." Here's hoping Obama's Attorney General, tarred by his own ethically compromised past during the Clinton Administration (he shamefully approved a pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich), will withstand the pressure from centrists and the Obama kumbaya crowd and appoint a special prosecutor to look into the question of torture and related outrages. Nothing works better than light as a disinfectant, and this dark chapter in American history should not be forgotten, but culled for lessons about how to prevent its reoccurrence.