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The Lawlessness of the Enforce the Law Act

8:04 pm in Uncategorized by David Swanson

A small jail cell

Can Congress imprison law-breaking government officials?

Not being mush of a masochist, I don’t usually read emails from the Democratic Whip in Congress, but I opened one Tuesday night and was mildly excited to read that the U.S. House of Representatives would spend Wednesday debating the “ENFORCE the Law Act of 2014.” Wow, I thought, which law will they pick? Will it be the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act? Would I, moments from now, be phoning a bunch of people to tell them jobs are on the way? Or … wait a minute! Oh my god, would large corporations be paying taxes now? Or will it be the Kellogg-Briand Pact or maybe the U.N. Charter — Are we about to announce to the world that the wars are over?  Perhaps, I thought, it’s going to be the anti-torture statute — hot damn! I wonder when the tickets for the CIA trials go on sale and how much a front row seat will cost. Or are bankers going to be subject to laws? Or maybe, just maybe, what they plan to enforce is the First Amendment or maybe the Fourth Amendment, or — hell — any of the amendments. Can you imagine?

My excitement wore off faster than a Congressman hits his knees before a corporate lobbyist. It turned out that this bill is part of a trend I’ve been watching and writing about for years.  Unwilling to impeach lawless presidents, members of Congress from both parties have been pushing for years the idea that Congress should sue criminal presidents in civil court.  The Democrats pushed this more when Bush was in the White House, and the Republicans more now.  The Enforce the Law Act is a Republican bill, but a bunch of Democratic amendments to it will be the subject of debate.

I started paying attention to this cockamamie idea of Congress suing the president in court around August 2008 when a group of Congressman Henry Waxman’s constituents met with him and urged him to make use of inherent contempt. They were then obliged to explain to him what inherent contempt is (as I’ll explain it a few paragraphs below). The 110th Congress had probably seen more requests, subpoenas, and contempt citations ignored than all previous Congresses combined, and Waxman had certainly endured more such insult than all other committee chairs combined. He single-handedly destroyed whole forests with the flood of letters and requests and subpoenas he sent down Pennsylvania Avenue, and yet he was apparently unaware of a procedure commonly used by Congress through most of this nation’s history that would actually compel people to show up and answer questions and produce documents.

In 2008 and 2009 a vague sort of awareness of inherent contempt crept into the minds of certain committee members and party leaders, almost entirely as a result of thousands of citizens demanding that they immediately make use of it. Quasi-grass-roots groups afraid to demand impeachment took up the cry for inherent contempt, and some pro-impeachment groups advanced the cause as well, even though their eyes were set on a bigger and better prize.

Ron Suskind, who’s just given us a moving story about autism, in 2008 gave us a book reporting that Iraq’s intelligence chief had informed the United States prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq that Iraq possessed no weapons of mass destruction. George Tenet and the White House admitted the truth of this, but absurdly dismissed it as unimportant. Congress lets such outrages pass at its own peril.

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren wrote the following dismissive letter to her constituents who were demanding inherent contempt:

Thank you for contacting me about Karl Rove’s failure to appear before the Judiciary Committee. I appreciate that you took the time to share your thoughts with me. The Judiciary Committee is taking Karl Rove’s failure to testify very seriously, and we are currently considering all options – including contempt proceedings — to compel him to answer important questions regarding the firing of several U.S. attorneys. Some have suggested that Congress implement ‘inherent contempt’ as if that is a viable option. The jail cell in the basement of the Capitol doesn’t exist and the Sergeant at Arms is an over 60 year old executive. Congress is not a police force, and we will likely need to continue to utilize the courts and system of justice to pursue these matters. Again, thanks for being in touch. Please do not hesitate to let me know if I may ever be of assistance to you or your family.

Congresswoman Lofgren was very badly informed or chose to pretend to be. The age of the Sergeant at Arms is not a decisive factor in the question of whether the Congress will engage in what for most of its history was understood as “inherent self-protection”. There is a Sergeant at Arms for the House and one for the Senate, there are deputies, and there is an entire Capitol police force. In one of the earliest uses of “inherent contempt” a prisoner of the United States Congress argued that a warrant used to arrest him was invalid because it had been addressed to the Sergeant at Arms and had been enforced by the Deputy Sergeant at Arms. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the warrant was still valid; and that practice was subsequently followed for many decades. The Sergeant at Arms is not on his own, but is permitted and required to employ subordinates as needed. In 1877 a Deputy Sergeant at Arms was instructed to accompany a Congressional prisoner to New Orleans to procure telegrams he had hitherto refused to produce when subpoenaed, and to accompany another prisoner to New York to be seen by his physicians. In addition, a Sergeant at Arms incapable of performing his duties can be reassigned. With labor unions banned on Capitol Hill, there shouldn’t be any legal difficulties in immediately rearranging a few employees of the government.

When inherent contempt began to be discussed in 2007, having not been heard of in some 75 years, the Politico (never a publication overly careful with facts) reported that the jail had been razed in 1929. Congresswoman Lofgren, on the other hand, maintained that “the jail cell in the basement of the Capitol” doesn’t exist. She seems to take no position on whether such a thing ever did exist. Both of these replies wildly miss the mark. The House or the Senate or, in fact, any committee thereof, has the power, according to tradition and to rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court, to instruct the Sergeant at Arms of the House or Senate to imprison anyone being charged with contempt of Congress or being thereby punished for contempt of Congress. The difficulty of finding a place to imprison them has been easily solved in a variety of ways and could be again quite quickly. In fact the Capitol Police have plenty of spaces for holding prisoners. Trust me, I’ve been in them.

The reference to 1929 may be a reference to the building that stood on the current site of the Supreme Court building, construction of which began that year. The Old Capitol Prison was not the only thing housed in that building when it was there, was not among the initial uses for that building, and had long since ceased to be used by Congress when the building was razed. During the latter part of the 19th Century and the early part of the 20th, the common jail of the District of Columbia was routinely used by the Sergeants at Arms of the House and Senate. While the jail did not belong to Congress, an arrangement was made to use it, housing the occasional “contumacious witness” in the same building with the general DC prison population. The District Jail is described in this 1897 New York Times article. This 1934 article from Time Magazine discusses the Senate’s use of the District Jail to punish contempt in both 1860 and 1934.

In 1872 a Congressional committee discussed the problem of the DC jail not being controlled by Congress, but apparently concluded that the Sergeant at Arms could keep control of a prisoner in that jail. In other instances, including that same case, a prisoner of Congress was summoned to appear by a court, and Congress instructed the Sergeant at Arms to transport the prisoner to the court to explain the situation but not to release the prisoner from his control.

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Is a Policy a Law? Is Murder Murder?

10:15 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

A judge's gavel seen from above

Has the rule of law become meaningless to the Obama administration?

From the Associated Press:

An American citizen who is a member of al-Qaida is actively planning attacks against Americans overseas, U.S. officials say, and the Obama administration is wrestling with whether to kill him with a drone strike and how to do so legally under its new stricter targeting policy issued last year.

Notice those words: “legally” and “policy.”  No longer does U.S. media make a distinction between the two.  Under George W. Bush, detention without trial, torture, murder, warrantless spying, and secret missile strikes were illegal.  Under Obama they are policy.  And policy makes them “legal” under the modified Nixonian understanding that if the President does it as a policy then it is legal.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the nations in which drone murders take place, treaties to which the U.S. is party, international law, and U.S. statutory law, murdering people remains illegal, despite being policy, just as it was illegal under the less strict policy of some months back.  The policy was made stricter in order to bring it into closer compliance with the law, of course — though it comes nowhere close — and yet the previous policy remains somehow “legal,” too, despite having not been strict enough.

Under that previous policy, thousands of people, including at least four U.S. citizens, have been blown to bits with missiles. President Obama gave a speech last year in which he attempted to justify one of those four U.S. deaths on the basis of evidence he claimed to have but would not reveal. He made no attempt to justify the other three.

The new policy remains that the president can murder anyone, anywhere, along with whoever is near them, but must express angst if the person targeted is a U.S. citizen.

The idea that such lunacy can have anything to do with law is facilitated by human rights groups’ and the United Nations’ and international lawyers’ deference to the White House, which has been carried to the extreme of establishing a consensus that we cannot know whether a drone murder was legal or not unless the president reveals his reasoning, intention, motivation, and the details of the particular murder.

No other possible criminal receives this treatment. When the police read you your rights, you are not entitled to object: “Put those handcuffs away, sir! I have a written policy justifying everything I did, and I refuse to show it to you. Therefore you have no grounds to know for certain that my justification is as insane and twisted as you might imagine it to be based merely on what I’ve done! Away with you, sir!”

The loss of a coherent conception of law is a grievous one, but that’s not all that’s at stake here.

Numerous top U.S. officials routinely admit that our drone wars in the Middle East and Africa are creating more enemies than they kill.  General Stanley McChrystal, then commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan said in June 2010 that “for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.” Veterans of U.S. kill teams in Iraq and Afghanistan interviewed in Jeremy Scahill’s book and film Dirty Wars said that whenever they worked their way through a list of people to kill, they were handed a larger list; the list grew as a result of working their way through it.  The wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, and the abuses of prisoners during them, became major recruiting tools for anti-U.S. terrorism. In 2006, U.S. intelligence agencies produced a National Intelligence Estimate that reached just that conclusion.

We are shredding the very concept of the rule of law in order to pursue a policy that endangers us, even as it helps to justify the erosion of our civil liberties, to damage the natural environment, and to impoverish us, as it kills many innocent people.  Maybe they’ve secretly got drones doing the thinking as well as the killing.

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The Special Loophole in Hell for War Lawyers

9:49 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

(photo: you are your atman/flickr)

The strict rule of law is an ideal and a fantasy.  Conflicting and archaic words must be interpreted, and doing so is an art, not a science.

But there is an enormous chasm between honest attempts to approach the ideal of compliance with written law, and open disregard for it.

It is becoming standard practice for our government to enforce laws selectively or not at all, to openly defy laws, to enact laws in violation of the higher law called the Constitution or in violation of the treaties which that Constitution defines as the Supreme Law of the Land.

At the same time, charades of legality degrade it as an ideal: the International Criminal Court is not international, military justice makes a mockery of justice, etc.  And anti-legal measures, like secret sections of the PATRIOT act that can be enforced against us but which we cannot be permitted to read in order to comply with, muddle for many people the very idea of lawfulness.

Law is losing respect among people as a result of government defiance.  Why should we protest, I’m asked, when Congress legalizes domestic propaganda, since our government already lies to us and goes unpunished?  What difference does it make to call that “legal”?

On top of this, it is becoming a violation of laws in many cases to assemble, speak, and protest.  When we try to nonviolently gather and march against mass murder, we’re greeted by masses of militarized law enforcement officers and undercover police who try to entrap us in sick evil plots they’ve dreamed up.

Meanwhile over half of our federal government’s discretionary budget goes to war and preparations for war, leaving those who morally object to funding such horrors with no choice but to violate the law requiring taxes — even while it is public knowledge that many of our wealthiest corporations and individuals pay little, no, or negative tax rates, and do so “legally,” many of them also profiting from the business of war, the business of imprisonment, or the “legal” business of destroying our atmosphere with fossil fuels.

The ideal of law, as if it were not in enough trouble, has suffered an additional blow from the U.S. government’s shift in policy from torture to murder.  A young man spent days in the capital of Pakistan and could easily have been arrested.  Instead, he was murdered, days after departing, by a U.S. drone.  He was never charged with any crime.  Was it law enforcement?  Then why is a career-criminal who was recess-appointed by an imperial president empowered to serve as judge, jury, and executioner, and to exercise his judicial power world-wide and in secret?  What sort of law is that?  If, on the contrary, such “strikes” are war, they are war with one army sitting at a desk thousands of miles away, with their drive home to dinner the most dangerous part of their day, while the other army is handcuffed and blindfolded on the battlefield with their kids and spouses and grandparents along.  And since when is war itself legal, much less an alternative to law enforcement?

By written law, the Kellogg-Briand Pact bans all war.  This treaty was put in place in 1928.  The U.S. State Department says 65 nations are committed to it.  Yet the very idea of actually complying with it elicits nothing but laughter in Washington, D.C.  The primary reason not to comply with it, I’m told, is that nobody complies with it.  Of course, many nations do.

The next reason is that it is a “failed” treaty.  It banned war.  We’ve still had wars.  Therefore it’s no good.  In fact, the typical argument is that it banned war, and World War II happened, and so it’s no good.  But we also still have murder.  Shall we legalize that?  When did a single violation of a law take on the power to erase the law?  Isn’t it normal practice to punish violations of laws and leave the laws in place until overturned by democratic process?  In fact, after World War II, the Kellogg-Briand Pact was used to prosecute war as a crime for the first time ever.  How could that erase the law utilized, as opposed to strengthening it — unless very powerful forces wanted it erased and everyone else tragically complied?

The next reason to ignore the illegality of war established by the Kellogg-Briand Pact is that the U.N. Charter supersedes it.  The U.N. Charter legalizes two categories of wars (defensive and U.N. authorized) that have been interpreted broadly and predictably to allow pretty much free warmaking by the most powerful warmakers.  The United Nations opened the world back up to legal war, just as the Geneva conventions civilized proper legal war fighting.  But the U.N. Charter cannot erase the Kellogg-Briand Pact, and many of our wars indisputably violate the U.N. Charter as well, not to mention the U.S. Constitution, the War Powers Act, etc.

What enforces laws or tosses them aside is the collective decision-making of our culture.  One friend, whom I asked about his acceptance of “legal” status for war, responded that the “community of international lawyers” gets to decide.  But that is only true if people at large let them.  The same friend suggested I read a book called “Of War and Law” by David Kennedy, and I’ve just done so.  I now consider Kennedy an enemy of the very idea of law, and I see a need to argue for law’s value.  Kennedy’s entire book makes no mention of courts, judges, prosecutions, or punishments.  Legality in war, for Kennedy, is a subcategory of public relations.  Wars — and it is U.S. wars he is discussing, I don’t know whether he agrees with the ICC on the need to prosecute African warmakers –  look better to the extent that they can persuasively claim to be “legal.”

According to Kennedy, “determining the law governing military operations is not a simple matter of looking things up in a book, particularly for coalition operations, or for campaigns that stretch the battlespace across numerous jurisdictions. . . . once you begin thinking of the international legal order as backstopped by a ‘court of public opinion,’ or international norms being enforced through the decentralized process through which the ‘international community’ makes the political initiatives of those who are perceived to break the norms less legitimate and therefore more costly to undertake, the idea of ‘validity’ makes less sense.  There is no authoritative determiner of the norms and interpretations that are, in fact, valid.”  Might makes right.

“War has become an affair of rules,” writes Kennedy, fooling himself.  Legalistic rhetoric is not law.  And war includes as much finger-chopping, mutilating, rape, slaughter, suicide, and insanity as ever.  “No ship moves, no weapon is fired, no target selected without some review for compliance with regulation — not because the military has gone soft, but because there is simply no other way to make modern warfare work.”  Uh huh.  Now shout “Humanitarian war in Haditha” three times fast.

But don’t blame anyone.  Warmakers don’t make wars, Kennedy tells us.  Wars make the warmakers: “Neither the commander in chief nor the political culture of Washington controls the politics of the battlespace.  As often as not, it will be the reverse.”  Helpless though they may be, the warmakers are professional, Kennedy writes.  Even John Yoo’s memos were professional, thus putting them beyond reproach — likewise the use of nuclear bombs, extremely professional.  “War has become, in Clausewitzian terms, the continuation of law by other means,” according to Kennedy — the reversal, it should be noted, of the goal of the 1920s Outlawrists who created Kellogg-Briand.  War is illegal on paper, while in practice, in Nixonian terms, if the war does it then that means it’s not illegal.

Kennedy and I both want to eliminate the laws that govern the conduct of war.  But I want to do so by enforcing the law that forbids war entirely.  He wants to do so by treating laws as helpful suggestions and rules of thumb, with the ultimate authority on an action’s legality to be precisely whoever takes the action.  You can imagine how this would go over in domestic affairs.  You can imagine how it would go over if the nations where we fight our wars were inhabited by white, English-speaking Christians.  As it is, Kennedy’s assault on the rule of law is more insidious and more powerful than that of any anarchists shouting about their ownership of a street.

The rule of law was to replace the rule of kings.  Take it away and see what you’re left with.

There must be a special loophole in Hell reserved for war lawyers.

Is That Even Legal?

4:36 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

If the U.S. Constitution says one thing, a treaty ratified by the United States says another, a law passed by Congress yet another, and another law passed by Congress another thing still, while a signing statement radically changes that last law but itself differs with an executive order, all of which statements of law conflict with a number of memos drafted by the Office of Legal Council (some secret and some leaked), but a President has announced that the law is something completely different from all of this, and in practice the government defies all of the above including the presidential announcement . . . in such a case, the obvious but possibly pointless question arises: what’s legal?

The above theoretical example of legal confusion sounds extreme, but it is not far off the actual situation with regard to some of our most important public policies. Take the example of U.S. warmaking in Libya. Is that legal?

The U.S. Constitution says Congress must decide where and when to make war. Congress has not declared a war since 1941. Since that date Congress has put up a gradually diminishing pretense of involvement. In the case of Libya, Congress played no role whatsoever in launching the war. Is the law what the Constitution says, how the Constitution was interpreted for the first two-thirds of our national history, what presidents have gotten away with in recent decades, or what a president can get away with today? Wait, don’t answer that!

The Constitution also says that ratified treaties are the supreme law of the land. Does that include treaties passed almost a century ago, largely forgotten, and almost never discussed on television? Does it include only treaties that have been duplicated in U.S. statutes? Does it include only treaties the government is inclined to comply with? In this regard, we might wish to recall that theoretically the Kellogg Briand Pact is still one of our many supreme laws of the land. In 1928, the U.S. Senate ratified this treaty, which states:

“The High Contracting Parties solemly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another.”

The Senate tacked on a couple of modifications to the treaty, a practice of debatable legality itself. One reservation the Senate added was for cases of defense. The other was to clarify that the United States was not obliged to enforce the treaty by going to war against its violators. Since nobody has even claimed that Libya attacked the United States, and since the United States voluntarily went to war, the exceptions do not seem relevant. War is illegal. Period. At least if we go by Kellogg Briand. And why not? Aren’t ancient laws recalled and put to use when we need to expand corporate power or discriminate against gays or advance any other political agenda? So, why not Kellogg Briand? Because it’s been violated? What kind of reason is that?

The United Nations Charter, too, makes war illegal, with very limited exceptions that do not seem to apply. But the United Nations passed a resolution that the U.S. Justice Department, in a leaked/published memo, relies on heavily to justify the war. Does that resolution make the war in some way legal, even if the memo isn’t and the Constitution is still violated? And what if the war, in various ways, violates the resolution? The resolution was for a humanitarian intervention, a no fly zone, a cease fire, an arms embargo, and a ban on foreign ground troops. It was immediately used to bomb civilians, introduce arms, and employ foreign ground troops, not to mention drone bombings and an apparent assassination attempt — both practices of highly dubious legality. Is a war legalized by a resolution even if it violates the resolution, and even if it violates numerous other laws in doing so? Or is it internationally legalized while remaining domestically unconstitutional?

A U.S. law passed in 1973, the War Powers Act, if you read what it actually says, would have applied only if Libya had attacked the United States, which no one has ever claimed. But everyone pretended this law applied anyway. The War Powers Resolution requires that the President report information to Congress within 48 hours of launching a war, which Obama did — except that he didn’t include most of the information he was required to report. The War Powers Resolution also puts a 60-day limit on unconstitutional war, and that clock has expired. So is the war illegal because it violates both the Constitution and this weaker law? Or is it legal because there’s been such a pretense of complying with the law, to the extent of sending Congress a polite note when the 60-day clock ran out? And is this law somewhat less legal than other laws because it was passed over a veto and because some, but not all, presidents since its passage have declared that they object to it and hold it to be unconstitutionally strong — as opposed to being unconstitutionally weak, as the law appears to be?

Last week, the House of Misrepresentatives passed numerous amendments to the “Defense Authorization Act of 2012.” One amendment made clear that passage of the bill did not authorize war in Libya. (Arguably, the failure of Congress to fund any war in Libya also makes the war — you guessed it — illegal.) Another amendment prohibited the use of U.S. ground troops in Libya (unless employed through a department other than “Defense”). But another amendment required that, upon completion of the war, the U.S. military dig up and bring home the bones of U.S. sailors buried in Tripoli during an earlier war in 1804 (which Congress did not declare but authorized). How exactly is that going to happen unless the U.S. military gains control of Tripoli? And what is accomplished by refusing to authorize a war that is already underway, with another 90 days just announced by NATO, and with not a glimmer of a threat of holding anyone accountable for it? Is the idea to make a war “illegal” but watch it roll along?

Another section of the same bill (an amendment to strip it failed to pass) effectively gives presidents the power to make wars. This section (#1034) conflicts with the War Powers Act and the Constitution. It might also conflict with a congressional resolution ending or prohibiting a specific war. The President claims not to want this power, and a generous interpretation of a statement from his administration holds that he has threatened to veto the bill over it. While a veto strikes me as extremely unlikely, a signing statement seems somewhat more likely, if this amendment gets through the Senate. Here’s a situation in which the fundamental question of who has the power of war could have several answers. The Constitution will continue to say Congress, while the War Powers Act says mostly Congress, but this new legislation says presidents, and a signing statement says something different.

Why would President Obama signing-statement away more presidential power? Well, he probably won’t. But think about why he avoided asking Congress to declare or authorize war in the first place, when it probably would have. And why did he avoid asking Congress to declare or authorize war within 60 days? Why does he insist that the war is fought by NATO, rather than the United States, even though NATO and its role in the war would not exist without the United States? The goal seems to be expanding presidential power. NATO answers to the president but its abuses, as in Afghanistan, cannot be investigated by Congress. Asking Congress to play a role, even if it plays the desired one, means having to ask Congress again the next time. And allowing Congress to legislate that Congress has no role would mean that theoretically Congress could unlegislate that again. So, Obama could object to Congress having the gall to believe itself empowered to crown him king.

We could end up with a war illegal under the Constitution, legal and illegal under laws and treaties depending which we choose to consult, and illegal or legal under a signing statement depending how we try to make sense of it, but legal under the Justice Department’s memos. What’s legal?

A resolution to end the U.S. Libya war, HCR 51, will have to be voted on in the House by the week after next at the latest. If the vote is not held, in violation of the law, or if it is held and passes (and then passes the Senate too), will the war be thereby made even more illegal than it was, or illegal for the first time? What if the “Defense Authorization Act” passes the Senate and is signed into law with Section 1034 intact before the House holds its vote on ending the Libya war, or after? Can the crime of having violated the War Powers Act be retroactively treated to immunity? Can the same Congress legislatively and unwittingly deprive itself of the power to end a war it tries to end? What if Congress, frustrated in its effort to vote the war over, votes to ban the use of any dollars to fund the war? Then (and only then?) would continuation of the war be truly illegal? And what if a new memo or presidential decree in the meantime claimed the right to fund the war by other means, Iran-Contra-style or otherwise?

Or what if all measures went against the war’s legality? What if Section 1034 is rejected by the Senate, both houses vote to end the war, both houses vote to defund the war, the United Nations declares the war illegal, and so forth, but the war continues? Can a war be illegal and roll right along, like warrentless spying, procedure-free imprisonment, or assassination squads?

The White House/Pentagon is planning a secret briefing for Congress on the Libya War. Those who attend should be aware that the war in Libya appears to be a crime and that failure to report crimes that one witnesses is a felony. In this situation, can a Congress member be prosecuted both for revealing the contents of the meeting and for not doing so?

The only thing that seems clear here is that Thomas Paine’s notion of the law as king in this country isn’t holding up very well. Obviously the law is only king if we’re clear on what a law is and our government obeys it. If a law is any bill freely passed by Congress and signed or passed over a veto, provided the courts do not reject it as unconstitutional, and if the highest law is the Constitution and our treaties, then clarity might be possible. But then executive decrees and orders and lawless claims of secrecy and immunity would not be laws, signing statements would not be laws, and blatantly unconstitutional laws would not be laws. Persuasive arguments in secret meetings, and the whole regime of threats and bribes that the White House uses to manipulate the Congress would not be part of lawmaking.

Getting from where we are to there could be tricky. The Constitution itself proposes a way to do it that does not seem applicable. The tool that the Constitution provides the Congress is called impeachment, but obviously that cannot be discussed in this situation, since President Obama is not known to have been having sex with anyone.