Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Executive Overreach

So, the President is going to force BP to pay, up front, for oil damages:

David Axelrod, Obama's senior adviser, has said a new claims plan would call for an independent third party to handle the process, and a White House spokesman said Monday the administration is confident it has the legal authority to force BP to set up an escrow account for the purpose of paying damages. [CNN]

I have a little problem with this. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States of America. Specifically, the 5th Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

I don't remember BP, nor any of its employees, being so much as indicted yet. How the current administration rationalizes this overreach will be the bedrock of the next totalitarian regime's legal interpretation. Stare decisis, y'know.

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