Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday 21 September 2008

Cheney tries to bury Vice-Presidential records

US Vice President Cheney is trying hard to prevent his Vice-Presidential records from being turned over to the National Archives when he leaves office, along with President G W Bush in January next year. However, the New York Times reports that a U.S. District federal judge has ordered that a wide range of materials be safeguarded under the Presidential Records Act.

The basis for Cheney's attempts to shield these records from public scrutiny is his contention that the role of Vice President is not part of the executive branch of government under the US Constitution, nor is it part of the legislative branch, but is instead attached to Congress in the Constitution in his presiding role in the Senate. The claim was made as far back as 2003. I'd have thought his status as part of the Executive branch was pretty clear from Article II Section 1 - but what do I know, I'm just an ignorant foreigner.

Frankly it sounds like the stories one hears of the government of the former East Germany burning and shredding as many records as it could before reunification with West Germany! What a sad spectacle the US has become under its current administration. His role in flouting the ban on torture and other breaches of human rights legislation must not be allowed to avoid objective scrutiny - and to do that ALL his records should be available for study by historians (and possibly prosecutors before his death). Under the present Administration of President George W Bush the US Constitution has basically been 'butchered' and the much-vaunted 'separation of powers' has been put under very severe strain. It remains to be seen whether a future President can, will want to or be forced to rectify this damage.

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