A monarchy, or a republic?

A republic: if you can keep it.

I have nothing original to add to the discussion about the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. (Substantively, I doubt that the program itself represents a major threat to civil liberty.) But, not wanting to remain entirely silent, let me try to sum up in one sentence what seems to be the central question of principle posed by the case:

Does the President have the Constitutional authority to violate criminal laws whenever he judges, in his sole discretion, that those laws might interfere with defending the country?

It is logically possible to answer that question in the affirmative. But no one who does so can properly call himself “conservative.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com