Executive Power And The Court

The New York Review of Books asked several contributors to weigh in on the election. Here's Garry Wills:

The next president will undoubtedly nominate one or more Supreme Court justiceswhich, justifiably, makes some worry about the fate of Roe v. Wade. But there should be even deeper worries about the Court. Even if Roe is reversed (and that is no certainty, even with new justices), some statesperhaps manywill legitimize abortions, and others may find a ban unenforceable (more so than Prohibition). But a new justice appointed by a Republican president will with certainty create results more drastic than any affecting Roe.

I hope to write about this very soon. It is, in my judgment, the most important thing at stake on Tuesday. Wills continues:

When Dick Cheney was vetting the last two candidates for the Court, he did not really care about their views on abortion. He concentrated on their attitude toward the many executive usurpations of the Bush administration, and he was satisfied on this account with John Roberts and with Sam Alito.

When Charles Gibson was questioning Governor Palin, he should not have asked about the Bush Doctrine (a wavering concept, and touching only one matter, war). He should have asked for her views on the unitary executivethe question Cheney asked the Court nominees. That is what matters most to the Bush people. It affects all the executive usurpations of the last seven yearsnot only the right of the president to wage undeclared wars, but his right to create military courts, to authorize extraordinary renditions, secret prisons, more severely coercive interrogation, trials with undisclosed evidence, domestic surveillance, and the overriding of congressional oversight in every aspect of government from energy policy to health services.