When the President does it, it's not illegal

"When the president does it … that means that it is not illegal "

   --Richard Nixon, 1977 interview with David Frost

 

Surely Nixon was not the first to put forward a theory of government  that the President has absolute immunity and is in effect above the law. But Trump, in a brief filed yesterday, has brought the question front and center before the SCOTUS where he argues (as reported by the NYTimes)

“The president cannot function, and the presidency itself cannot retain its vital independence, if the president faces criminal prosecution for official acts once he leaves office.”

It's not the first time Trump has raised this point. In a federal appeals court earlier this year federal judge Pan asked a Trump lawyer a very to the point question, and got a disturbing but direct response:   

“I asked you a yes-or-no question,” Judge Pan said. “Could a president who ordered SEAL Team 6 to assassinate a political rival, who was not impeached, would he be subject to criminal prosecution?”

(Trump lawyer) Mr. Sauer said his answer was a “qualified yes,” by which he meant no. He explained that prosecution would only be permitted if the president were first impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate.

cvining
Commentary

Not illegal

Submitted by cvining on

When the president does it … that means that it is not illegal

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Citation

1977 interview with David Frost

Simple and wrong cvining

There is always a well-known solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.

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1920, Prejudices: Second Series by H. L. Mencken (Henry Louis Mencken), Chapter 4: The Divine Afflatus, Start Page 155, Borzoi: Alfred A. Knopf, New York.(but often attributed to othere as well)

One Funeral At A Time

Submitted by cvining on

An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out, and that the growing generation is familiarized with the ideas from the beginning: another instance of the fact that the future lies with the youth.

[Often paraphrased as "Science progresses one funeral at a time".]

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Scientific Autobiography and Other Papers. New York: Philosophical library, 1950, p. 33, 97

Be excellent to each other cvining

Be excellent to each other, and party on!

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An expert cvining

An expert is a person who has found out by his own painful experience all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field.

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Crazy enough? cvining

We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.

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Said to Wolfgang Pauli after his presentation of Heisenberg's and Pauli's nonlinear field theory of elementary particles, at Columbia University (1958), as reported by F. J. Dyson in his paper "Innovation in Physics"

Quantum mechanics, she is correct cvining

I still have objections to the … beauty of quantum mechanics, but she is correct.