Focus Point - The TribunalsCommentary by Pete du Pont
December 18, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. Senator Patrick Leahy has made himself particularly obnoxious by having playing partisan politics with the president's security program.
Leahy has badgered the administration over plans for military tribunals - knowing perfectly well that precedent backs the president.
The supreme court has held in at least three cases, going back to 1936, that the president has broader powers in dealing with foreign affairs than domestic, concluding, in a 1942 case, he has "the power...to carry into effect...all laws defining and punishing offenses against the law of nations, including those which pertain to the conduct of war."
In fact, according to one law professor quoted in the New York Times, it would take flagrant and systematic violations of individual rights for the court to revoke the president's authority. In the balance of national security and indivual freedom, war tips it. The antics of senator Leahy in this instance are harmful, and he knows better.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time, the last word from Florida.