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Should the U.S. president suspend the constitution?

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Cisairse
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Should the U.S. president suspend the constitution?

Postby Cisairse » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:16 pm

I stumbled upon this Harper's letter today and it really spooked me. I'll quote one of the juicy parts, but there's much more:

At some point in the first term, however, experts surmise that an even more secret briefing occurs, one that has never been publicly acknowledged. In it, the new president learns how to blow up the Constitution.

The session introduces “presidential emergency action documents,” or PEADs, orders that authorize a broad range of mortal assaults on our civil liberties. In the words of a rare declassified official description, the documents outline how to “implement extraordinary presidential authority in response to extraordinary situations”—by imposing martial law, suspending habeas corpus, seizing control of the internet, imposing censorship, and incarcerating so-called subversives, among other repressive measures. “We know about the nuclear briefcase that carries the launch codes,” Joel McCleary, a White House official in the Carter Administration, told me. “But over at the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department there’s a list of all the so-called enemies of the state who would be rounded up in an emergency. I’ve heard it called the ‘enemies briefcase.’ ”
https://harpers.org/archive/2020/11/the-enemies-briefcase-secret-powers-of-the-presidency/

Emphasis mine. Now, the CoG stuff was relatively well-known by the public; a decent amount of it was declassified a few years ago. But the existence of the PEADs was not previously known to the public.
The article goes into a lot of detail about supra-legislative authorities that the United States president has, and where those authorities come from, but I'd like to focus specifically on the passage quoted above.

Do you think (and why do you think) that the U.S. government should actively maintain plans to dissolve the Constitution and suspend civil rights in the country? If so, under what circumstances should these plans be put into effect?

Personally I feel that they should not do this, because civil rights are fundamentally important things which the populace shouldn't have stripped from them.
Last edited by Cisairse on Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Punished UMN
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Postby Punished UMN » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:23 pm

If we've gotten in such an emergency situation that it's even politically feasible for the President to suspend the constitution, no one will care.
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Aeritai
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Postby Aeritai » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:27 pm

Yeah no... This sounds like a horrible idea. Unless the country has fallen into complete anarchy then I don't see a reason why the constitution needs to be suspended.
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Neanderthaland
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Postby Neanderthaland » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:31 pm

Unless nukes are raining down on America, or some similar level of calamity, I imagine that doing so would create more problems than it would solve.
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The Free Joy State
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Postby The Free Joy State » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:33 pm

Punished UMN wrote:If we've gotten in such an emergency situation that it's even politically feasible for the President to suspend the constitution, no one will care.

If the President of the United States declared a "national emergency" for a tenuous reason (sans an actual emergency -- as cited in the article), and used it to impose authoritarian rule, I imagine people would care. From the article:
As Goitein has written, the moment a president declares a “national emergency”—which he can do whenever he likes—more than one hundred special provisions become available, including freezing Americans’ bank accounts or deploying troops domestically. One provision even permits a president to suspend the ban on testing chemical and biological weapons on human subjects.


To answer the OP, no. The President of the USA should not have these powers. No leader in the world should have these powers.
Last edited by The Free Joy State on Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kowani
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Postby Kowani » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:35 pm

why is this a thing

If we're ever to the point where this is needed, it's a bit too fucking late, now isn't it?
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San Lumen
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Postby San Lumen » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:45 pm

No. This power should not exist. if its gotten to this point where something like this is needed seems to me its already too late.

I know people who have suggested something like this in response to Covid and even some people in this forum have suggested it.
Last edited by San Lumen on Sat Oct 24, 2020 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cordel One
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Postby Cordel One » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:47 pm

I don't like the Constitution, but this would be much worse. Absolutely not.
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Postby Side 3 » Sat Oct 24, 2020 9:53 pm

Well, that is absolutely fucking horrifying. And it definitely should not exist. I get that there has to be some emergency powers for the president in times of crisis, and I'm sure there's more nuance to this than what's being conveyed; but some of these powers are just way too much for any human to have, regardless of situation.
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Torisakia
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Postby Torisakia » Sat Oct 24, 2020 10:09 pm

Why stop at suspending it? He can just go to the National Archives and rip up the constitution and then there's nothing holding him back from doing whatever he wants. Like & Subscribe for more tip & tricks.
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Freiheit Reich
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Postby Freiheit Reich » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:16 am

The US Constitutional should always come first. Our freedoms must be preserved regardless of what situation the USA is in. However, many respected presidents seem to disagree with this to include FDR (rounding up Japanese citizens), Woodrow Wilson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln.

Here is a ranking of of presidents based on how much they value freedoms and support protecting the rights of Americans. What is scary is that Bush and Obama ranked at the bottom 2 (Trump is not included because this was written a few years ago). Americans care less about freedom these days which means presidents can trample over rights more easily.

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Freiheit Reich
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Postby Freiheit Reich » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:21 am

The Free Joy State wrote:
Punished UMN wrote:If we've gotten in such an emergency situation that it's even politically feasible for the President to suspend the constitution, no one will care.

If the President of the United States declared a "national emergency" for a tenuous reason (sans an actual emergency -- as cited in the article), and used it to impose authoritarian rule, I imagine people would care. From the article:
As Goitein has written, the moment a president declares a “national emergency”—which he can do whenever he likes—more than one hundred special provisions become available, including freezing Americans’ bank accounts or deploying troops domestically. One provision even permits a president to suspend the ban on testing chemical and biological weapons on human subjects.


To answer the OP, no. The President of the USA should not have these powers. No leader in the world should have these powers.


Americans reelected Bush even after he trampled on civil liberties. Naming such an act 'The Patriot Act' was an extremely clever way to fool most Americans it seems. Many people love strong authoritarian leaders. Look at how loved Putin, Xi Jinping, Duterte, and Kim Jong-Un are. Most people are sheep and they like the feeling of being led by a strong and confident leader even if that leader is trampling on their rights.
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-Ocelot-
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Postby -Ocelot- » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:25 am

Yes, such measures are an unfortunate necessity in case of an extreme scenario, such as civil war or nuclear war. They will most likely never be implemented even in the event of a crisis, but they should be there to protect the state from complete catastrophe.

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Nobel Hobos 2
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Postby Nobel Hobos 2 » Sun Oct 25, 2020 12:55 am

I'd rather he didn't. Short term disaster being a high price to pay for long term reform. But who knows, he might break the Presidency completely: that would be good.
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Bala Mantre
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Postby Bala Mantre » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:01 am

Id rather be living in the UK right now but I say go ahead!
I find America annoying
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Nobel Hobos 2
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Postby Nobel Hobos 2 » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:08 am

Bala Mantre wrote:Id rather be living in the UK right now but I say go ahead!
I find America annoying


Even Americans find it annoying. It's when you find it inescapable that you have cause for complaint. :p

Australian here. I lived in the UK for a year, as a teenager. I would definitely choose the US instead. West coast I think.
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Dakran
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Postby Dakran » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:14 am

I'm sure there's... SOME? benefit to this? Somewhere? But I'm not sure it's worth doing at the expense of basically burning down what America is supposed to stand for.
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Bala Mantre
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Postby Bala Mantre » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:17 am

Nobel Hobos 2 wrote:
Bala Mantre wrote:Id rather be living in the UK right now but I say go ahead!
I find America annoying


Even Americans find it annoying. It's when you find it inescapable that you have cause for complaint. :p

Australian here. I lived in the UK for a year, as a teenager. I would definitely choose the US instead. West coast I think.

I moved from Germany to the US as a teenager.
Rather perfer Europe
(West coast rains alot btw)
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The Reformed American Republic
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Postby The Reformed American Republic » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:28 am

Nobel Hobos 2 wrote:
Bala Mantre wrote:Id rather be living in the UK right now but I say go ahead!
I find America annoying


Even Americans find it annoying. It's when you find it inescapable that you have cause for complaint. :p

Australian here. I lived in the UK for a year, as a teenager. I would definitely choose the US instead. West coast I think.

Don't forget, we have shittier healthcare.

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The Reformed American Republic
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Postby The Reformed American Republic » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:40 am

Yes, this is a problem, though I'm not surprised that this exists. People are completely willing to give up essential rights and ironically some of the supposed "freedom" defenders would be the first to give it up.

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Nobel Hobos 2
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Postby Nobel Hobos 2 » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:51 am

The Reformed American Republic wrote:
Nobel Hobos 2 wrote:
Even Americans find it annoying. It's when you find it inescapable that you have cause for complaint. :p

Australian here. I lived in the UK for a year, as a teenager. I would definitely choose the US instead. West coast I think.

Don't forget, we have shittier healthcare.


I'm saying if I had to choose. But I don't. I'm happy here on the Island Continent.

Did you know, the contiguous US and mainland Australia have very nearly the same land area?
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The Reformed American Republic
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Postby The Reformed American Republic » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:56 am

Nobel Hobos 2 wrote:
The Reformed American Republic wrote:Don't forget, we have shittier healthcare.


I'm saying if I had to choose. But I don't. I'm happy here on the Island Continent.

Did you know, the contiguous US and mainland Australia have very nearly the same land area?

Yes. Though I'm not going to pretend I'm good at geography.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, this is actually pretty scary and I doubt the Supreme Court is going to check these powers and neither will the useless congress.

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Nobel Hobos 2
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Postby Nobel Hobos 2 » Sun Oct 25, 2020 1:57 am

The Reformed American Republic wrote:Yes, this is a problem, though I'm not surprised that this exists. People are completely willing to give up essential rights and ironically some of the supposed "freedom" defenders would be the first to give it up.


Tell me, do the "essential" rights include those not to be individually taxed (16th amendment 1909)? How about the right not to be searched without warrant (PATRIOT act 2001)?

You're behind enemy lines already. You're not going to fight, obviously. You grew up behind the lines. It might be time to surrender, you know, not because it's honorable which it is, but just to save your own ass?
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The Reformed American Republic
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Postby The Reformed American Republic » Sun Oct 25, 2020 2:06 am

Nobel Hobos 2 wrote:
The Reformed American Republic wrote:Yes, this is a problem, though I'm not surprised that this exists. People are completely willing to give up essential rights and ironically some of the supposed "freedom" defenders would be the first to give it up.


Tell me, do the "essential" rights include those not to be individually taxed (16th amendment 1909)? How about the right not to be searched without warrant (PATRIOT act 2001)?

You're behind enemy lines already. You're not going to fight, obviously. You grew up behind the lines. It might be time to surrender, you know, not because it's honorable which it is, but just to save your own ass?

Well, to conservatives, all they care about is abortion and low taxes. American liberals aren't much better. Paint a black fist on authoritarianism with support for "diversity" and they'd support it.

To me, I think being searched without a warrant is much worse than being taxed. Regardless, I'm still going to be critical of the status quo as we're not a dictatorship... yet. If things get really bad, I'd probably just move. I have Irish and English ancestry. Maybe I'll try to move to one of those places.

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Postby The Greater Ohio Valley » Sun Oct 25, 2020 2:12 am

The Reformed American Republic wrote:Paint a black fist on authoritarianism with support for "diversity" and they'd support it.

Only if you deliberately strawman liberals and progressives.
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