"No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land… To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice."
"Many will be ready to say, It is a Slavish and Dangerous Condition to be subject to the Will of any One Man, who is not subject to the Laws. But such Men consider not, 1. That the Prerogative of a King is to be above all Laws, for the good only of them that are under the Laws, and to defend the Peoples Liberties, as His Majesty graciously affirmed in His Speech after His last Answer to the Petition of Right: Howsoever some are afraid of the Name of Prerogative, yet they may assure themselves the Case of Subjects would be desperately miserable without it. The Court of Chancery it self is but a Branch of the King’s Prerogative, to Relieve men against the inexorable rigour of the Law, which without it is no better than a Tyrant, since Summum Jus, is Summa Injuria. General Pardons, at the Coronation and in Parliaments, are but the Bounty of the Prerogative. 2. There can be no Laws without a Supreme Power to command or make them. In all Aristocraties the Nobles are above the Laws, and in all Democraties the People. By the like Reason, in a Monarchy the King must of necessity be above the Laws; there can be no Soveraign Majesty in him that is under them; that which giveth the very Being to a King, is the Power to give Laws; without this Power he is but an Equivocal King. It skills not which way Kings come by their Power, whether by Election, Donation, Succession, or by any other means; for it is still the manner of the Government by Supreme Power that makes them properly Kings, and not the means of obtaining their Crowns. Neither doth the Diversity of Laws, nor contrary Customs, whereby each Kingdom differs from another, make the Forms of Common-Weal different, unless the Power of making Laws be in several Subjects."
"This power to act according to discretion, for the public good, without the prescription of the law, and sometimes even against it, is that which is called prerogative: for since in some governments the lawmaking power is not always in being, and is usually too numerous, and so too slow, for the dispatch requisite to execution; and because also it is impossible to foresee, and so by laws to provide for, all accidents and necessities that may concern the public, or to make such laws as will do no harm, if they are executed with an inflexible rigour, on all occasions, and upon all persons that may come in their way; therefore there is a latitude left to the executive power, to do many things of choice which the laws do not prescribe… And therefore he that will look into the history of England, will find, that prerogative was always largest in the hands of our wisest and best princes; because the people, observing the whole tendency of their actions to be the public good, contested not what was done without law to that end: or, if any human frailty or mistake (for princes are but men, made as others) appeared in some small declinations from that end; yet ’twas visible, the main of their conduct tended to nothing but the care of the public. The people therefore, finding reason to be satisfied with these princes, whenever they acted without, or contrary to the letter of the law, acquiesced in what they did, and, without the least complaint, let them inlarge their prerogative as they pleased, judging rightly, that they did nothing herein to the prejudice of their laws, since they acted conformable to the foundation and end of all laws, the public good."
"Whereas the late King James the Second, by the assistance of divers evil counsellors, judges and ministers employed by him, did endeavour to subvert and extirpate the Protestant religion and the laws and liberties of this kingdom… By levying money for and to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative for other time and in other manner than the same was granted by Parliament… And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties declare… That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal; That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal… That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal..."
"BY the word prerogative we usually understand that special pre-eminence, which the king hath, over and above all other persons, and out of the ordinary course of the common law, in right of his regal dignity. It dignifies, in it's etymology, (from prae and rogo) something that is required or demanded before, or in preference to, all others. And hence it follows, that it must be in it's nature singular and eccentrical; that it can only be applied to those rights and capacities which the king enjoys alone, in contradistinction to others, and not to those which he enjoys in common with any of his subjects: for if once any one prerogative of the crown could be held in common with the subject, it would cease to be prerogative any longer. And therefore Finchi lays it down as a maxim, that the prerogative it that law in cafe of the king, which is law in no cafe of the subject... PREROGATIVES are either direct or incidental. The direct are such positive substantial parts of the royal character and authority, as are rooted in and spring from the king's political person, considered merely by itself, without reference to any other extrinsic circumstance; as, the right of sending embassadors, of creating peers, and of making war or peace. But such prerogatives as are incidental bear always a relation to something else, distinct from the king's person; and are indeed only exceptions, in favour of the crown, to those general rules that are established for the rest of the community: such as, that no costs shall be recovered against the king; that the king can never be a joint-tenant; and that his debt shall be preferred before a debt to any of his subjects. These, and an infinite number of other instances, will better be understood, when we come regularly to consider the rules themselves, to which these incidental prerogatives are exceptions. And therefore we will at present only dwell upon the king's substantive or direct prerogatives."
"The nature of foreign negotiations requires caution, and their success must often depend on secrecy; and even when brought to a conclusion a full disclosure of all the measures, demands, or eventual concessions which may have been proposed or contemplated would be extremely impolitic; for this might have a pernicious influence on future negotiations, or produce immediate inconveniences, perhaps danger and mischief, in relation to other powers. The necessity of such caution and secrecy was one cogent reason for vesting the power of making treaties in the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, the principle on which that body was formed confining it to a small number of members. To admit, then, a right in the House of Representatives to demand and to have as a matter of course all the papers respecting a negotiation with a foreign power would be to establish a dangerous precedent. It does not occur that the inspection of the papers asked for can be relative to any purpose under the cognizance of the House of Representatives, except that of an impeachment, which the resolution has not expressed. I repeat that I have no disposition to withhold any information which the duty of my station will permit or the public good shall require to be disclosed; and, in fact, all the papers affecting the negotiation with Great Britain were laid before the Senate when the treaty itself was communicated for their consideration and advice."
"With respect to papers, there is certainly a public & a private side to our offices. To the former belong grants of land, patents for inventions, certain commissions, proclamations, & other papers patent in their nature. To the other belong mere executive proceedings. All nations have found it necessary, that for the advantageous conduct of their affairs, some of these proceedings, at least, should remain known to their executive functionary only. He, of course, from the nature of the case, must be the sole judge of which of them the public interests will permit publication. Hence, under our Constitution, in requests of papers, from the legislative to the executive branch, an exception is carefully expressed, as to those which he may deem the public welfare may require not to be disclosed; as you will see in the enclosed resolution of the H of Representatives, which produced the message of Jan 22, respecting this case. The respect mutually due between the constituted authorities, in their official intercourse, as well as sincere dispositions to do for every one what is just, will always insure from the executive, in exercising the duty of discrimination confided to him, the same candor & integrity to which the nation has in like manner trusted in the disposal of it's judiciary authorities. Considering you as the organ for communicating these sentiments to the Court, I address them to you for that purpose, & salute you with esteem & respect."
"The executive is a coordinate and independent branch of the Government equally with the Senate, and I have yet to learn under what constitutional authority that branch of the Legislature has a right to require of me an account of any communication, either verbally or in writing, made to the heads of Departments acting as a Cabinet council. As well might I be required to detail to the Senate the free and private conversations I have held with those officers on any subject relating to their duties and my own. Feeling my responsibility to the American people, I am willing upon all occasions to explain to them the grounds of my conduct, and I am willing upon all proper occasions to give to either branch of the Legislature any information in my possession that can be useful in the execution of the appropriate duties confided to them."
"Judicial experience with the privilege which protects military and state secrets has been limited in this country. English experience has been more extensive, but still relatively slight compared with other evidentiary privileges. Nevertheless, the principles which control the application of the privilege emerge quite clearly from the available precedents. The privilege belongs to the Government and must be asserted by it; it can neither be claimed nor waived by a private party. It is not to be lightly invoked. There must be a formal claim [345 U.S. 1, 8] of privilege, lodged by the head of the department which has control over the matter, after actual personal consideration by that officer. The court itself must determine whether the circumstances are appropriate for the claim of privilege, and yet do so without forcing a disclosure of the very thing the privilege is designed to protect… It may be possible to satisfy the court, from all the circumstances of the case, that there is a reasonable danger that compulsion of the evidence will expose military matters which, in the interest of national security, should not be divulged. When this is the case, the occasion for the privilege is appropriate, and the court should not jeopardize the security which the privilege is meant to protect by insisting upon an examination of the evidence, even by the judge alone, in chambers."
"Within this Constitutional framework each branch should cooperate fully with each other for the common good. However, throughout our history the President has withheld information whenever he found that what was sought was confidential or its disclosure would be incompatible with the public interest or jeopardize the safety of the Nation… I direct this action so as to maintain the proper separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative Branches of the Government in accordance with my responsibilities and duties under the Constitution. This separation is vital to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power by any branch of the government."
Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum
"We conclude that, when the ground for asserting privilege as to subpoenaed materials sought for use in a criminal trial is based only on the generalized interest in confidentiality, it cannot prevail over the fundamental demands of due process of law in the fair administration of criminal justice. The generalized assertion of privilege must yield to the demonstrated, specific need for evidence in a pending criminal trial… We have earlier determined that the District Court did not err in authorizing the issuance of the subpoena. If a President concludes that compliance with a subpoena would be injurious to the public interest, he may properly, as was done here, invoke a claim of privilege on the return of the subpoena. Upon receiving a claim of privilege from the Chief Executive, it became the further duty of the District Court to treat the subpoenaed material as presumptively privileged and to require the Special Prosecutor to demonstrate that the Presidential material was 'essential to the justice of the [pending criminal] case.' United States v. Burr, 25 F.Cas. at 192. Here, the District Court treated the material as presumptively privileged, proceeded to find that the Special [p714] Prosecutor had made a sufficient showing to rebut the presumption, and ordered an in camera examination of the subpoenaed material."
President Bush invoked executive privilege today for the first time in his administration to block a Congressional committee trying to review documents about a decades-long scandal involving F.B.I. misuse of mob informants in Boston.
Citing executive privilege, President George W. Bush on Wednesday rejected a subpoena for his close adviser Karl Rove to testify to the Senate Judiciary Committee in a probe over fired federal prosecutors.
"It seems that the House Judiciary Committee is considering seeking help from the Justice Department to enforce contempt citations against Bush administration officials such as Joshua Bolten who refuse to respond to congressional inquiries into alleged White House wrongdoing. That would be a mistake.
Such a strategy leaves Congress beholden to hostile executive branch officials to...
"Last Friday, Heritage's Steve Bucci wrote a piece on the defeat of the cybersecurity legislation in the Senate and called for President Obama to respect the will of the people's duly elected representatives. However, President Obama seems to have missed that blog, since over the weekend, White House press secretary Jay Carney sent an e-mail indicating that the President is indeed considering...
"Over the weekend, a draft of a cybersecurity executive order was shown to members of the press. Leaked reports of secretive decision making are what the U.S. gets when the President decides to ignore the democratic process and implement rules by executive fiat. The U.S. also gets policies that are often incomplete and poorly thought out.
"President Obama's decision Wednesday to assert executive privilege to shield his attorney general and the Justice Department from congressional investigators reignited a long-running Washington debate over the limits of White House power in which Obama has argued both sides."
"Post-9/11, the Bush administration has expanded the use of the state secrets privilege (SSP) to withhold evidence and dismiss cases that challenge the administration in U.S. courts. In doing so, the Bush administration is threatening judicial oversight and legal challenges of the Executive Branch's unraveling of civil rights and disregard for human rights in the name of the 'war on terror.'"
"The top Republican lawmaker investigating the botched gun-trafficking operation known as Operation
'Fast and Furious' pressed the White House late Monday to explain why it decided to invoke executive privilege over documents requested as part of the probe — a last-ditch attempt to reach an agreement with the Obama administration and fend off a contempt vote against Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr."
"A federal judge Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed against the U.S. government and the FBI over the agency's spying on Orange County Muslims, ruling that allowing the suit to go forward would risk divulging sensitive state secrets."
"The Republican-run House voted Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, protesting his refusal to turn over documents related to the 'Fast and Furious' gun-trafficking investigation.
GOP lawmakers cast Holder as an obstructionist in the probe of a botched operation that contributed to the death of a border patrol agent; Holder and White House officials...
"For the first time in nearly 60 years, the Supreme Court on Tuesday will consider the limits of 'state secrets,' a legal doctrine the government often cites to quash lawsuits it says could expose information vital to national security."
"The House of Representatives voted Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for refusing to turn over documents tied to the botched Fast and Furious gun-running sting -- a discredited operation that has become a sharp point of contention between Democrats and Republicans in Washington.
The House approved a pair of criminal and civil measures against the attorney...
"The House of Representatives voted Thursday to make Eric H. Holder Jr. the first sitting attorney general held in contempt of Congress in U.S. history after he withheld documents that Republican lawmakers demanded as part of an investigation into a flawed gunrunning operation."
"The GOP-led House voted Thursday to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to provide key information pertaining to Operation Fast and Furious, making Holder the first sitting Cabinet member to be held in contempt.
The vote was 255-67, with 17 Democrats breaking ranks to side with Republicans in favor of contempt.
"Obama and his successors in the White House would be banned from using false claims of national security to conceal 'embarrassing or unlawful conduct' by the government, under new legislation proposed by lawmakers on both sides of the House."
"Yesterday, Mitt Romney assailed President Obama for a lack of transparency in invoking executive privilege to withhold documents related to the botched gun-walking Operation 'Fast and Furious' to the House Government and Oversight Committee. In the Romney campaign's released statement, headlined 'Transparent Hypocrisy: Obama's Fast and Furious Broken Promises,' Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said: 'President Obama's pledge to be transparent has turned out to be just another broken promise.' Romney is following Republicans in Congress who already have seized upon the issue for partisan and political gain. Last month, in a vote of 255 to 67, with 108 Democrats abstaining, the House of Representatives voted to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. in contempt of Congress, a move that Holder described as a proxy attack against President Obama."
"In recent years, there has been renewed interest in the proper use and possible abuse of executive orders and other presidential directives. Many citizens and lawmakers expressed concern over the content and scope of several of President Bill Clinton's executive orders and land proclamations. Congress responded with hearings and the consideration of several bills designed to curb the...
"Congress and the White House appear headed for a showdown over President Bush's decision to invoke executive privilege to deny documents to House and Senate committees and prevent former aides from testifying about the firing of U.S. attorneys.
Lawmakers, in turn, have threatened to hold subpoenaed officials in contempt of Congress.
"Executive privilege is the president's constitutional prerogative to withhold certain information requested by Congress. This prerogative is justified primarily by the president's need to receive candid advice from his advisers."
An article detailing the author's beliefs concerning executive privilege and the State Secrets Privilege. The author asserts that other factors should be considered before a "blanket" claim to executive privilege can be made.
"What is the state secrets privilege? Under this privilege, the executive branch claims that the disclosure of certain evidence in court may damage national security and therefore cannot be released in litigation."
Mark Rozell speaks on the topic of executive privilege. He states his belief that it is a constitutionally based power but it is also one subject to misuse and should be balanced with the other branches.
President Andrew Jackson's letter to the Senate stating that the executive, as a separate political body equal to the Senate, is not required to disclose private interactions with its council without sufficient reason.
The Supreme Court case dealing with Vice-President Cheney's involvement with the National Energy Policy Development Group. The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the District court should have considered Cheney's demand for privilege.
"Congress's contempt power is the means by which Congress responds to certain acts that in its view obstruct the legislative process. Contempt may be used either to coerce compliance, to punish the contemnor, and/or to remove the obstruction. Although arguably any action that directly obstructs the effort of Congress to exercise its constitutional powers may constitute a contempt, in recent...
A case involving a group of knights who were wrongfully imprisoned. They appealed for a writ of habeas corpus, which was denied but the court ruled that the king couldn't imprison people whenever he wished.
Dwight D. Eisenhower's policy on executive privilege. It says that responsibility for information disclosed shall lie with the president alone. No person shall testify or communicate information received in meetings regardless of who would benefit from it.
An executive order issued by President William Howard Taft stating that an official is required to furnish all information requested of him unless, in his judgment, it is detrimental to the public interest.
An executive order issued by President Ronald Reagan asserting the executive privilege of former and incumbent presidents dealing with the release of information by the National Archives and Records Administration.
An executive order issued by President Barack Obama revoking Executive Order 13233. It allows for information concerning previous presidents to be released, but executive privilege can be established if deemed necessary.
Thomas Jefferson's letter to George Hay asserting his executive privilege to disclose parts of a letter dealing with Aaron Burr's trial, but also to withhold the information not pertaining to the matter.
Thomas Jefferson writes that certain matters of the executive branch are public, and they can be disclosed without hesitation. Some matters ... are considered private and should be known only to the executive branch for the sake of national security.
Hobbes argued that a state of nature (an environment without a government imposing order) would be "the war of all against all" and life in such an environment would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."
The Magna Carta was the first set of rules curtailing an English king's power. It was formulated and passed under King John's reign. Specifically, it curtailed his right to arbitrarily punish subjects. It has been revised many times over the centuries.
Unless [the President] can give his advisers some assurance of confidentiality, a President could not expect to receive the full and frank submissions of facts and opinions upon which effective discharge of his duties depends.
David Hume's work describing and establishing the practice of passive obedience. This best became known as a religious and political doctrine advocating the absolute supremacy of the Crown and the treatment of any dissent (or more precisely, disobedience) as sinful and unlawful.
"As usurpation is the exercise of power which another hath a right to, so tyranny is the exercise of power beyond right, which nobody can have a right to; and this is making use of the power any one has in his hands, not for the good of those who are under it, but for his own private, separate advantage. When the governor, however entitled, makes not the law, but...
John Stuart Mill was a British political philosopher and politician. In this classic essay, he argues that "the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.... Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign."
This act sets out to amend chapter 22 of title 44, United States Code, popularly known as the Presidential Records Act, to establish procedures for the consideration of claims of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure of Presidential records.
To amend chapter 22 of title 44, United States Code, popularly known as the Presidential Records Act, to establish procedures for the consideration of claims of constitutionally based privilege against disclosure of Presidential records.
The Bill declares that in any civil action brought in federal or state court the government has a privilege to refuse to give information and to prevent any person from giving information... if the information could cause harm to national defense.
The Constitution of the United States established the federal governmental system currently in place with three branches of government. The premise of executive privilege developed from the separation of powers clause.
The opinion of the court in the U.S. vs. Nixon trial. The court ruled Nixon must hand over unedited copies of tape-recordings involving conversations between him and seven men indicted in the Watergate Scandal.
Drawing on White House and congressional documents as well as on personal interviews, Mark Rozell provides both a historical overview of executive privilege and an explanation of its importance in the political process.
This book is a fresh interpretation of the events leading to the Glorious Revolution of 1688, showing the significance of James II's prosecution of seven bishops as the signal for the revolution itself.
"When it comes to our prosperity, our freedom tradition, and our constitutional government, President Barack Obama has been the great destroyer—knocking down the free-market economy and principles of limited government that have made America the envy of the world.
As New York Times bestselling author David Limbaugh documents in chilling detail in his new book, The Great...
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., traces the growth of presidential power over two centuries, from George Washington to George W. Bush, examining how it has both served and harmed the Constitution and what Americans can do about it in years to come.