The Pledge to Safeguard the Constitution
In order to prevent any sabotage of the 2024 or future presidential elections or other abuses of presidential power which might further damage if not destroy our constitutional democracy: we the undersigned urge Congress to enact a consolidated grouping of legislative proposals to restrict certain authorities attributed to ANY President which he or she might try to assume under the unitary executive interpretation of Article II of the Constitution.
As former White House Counsel John Dean has explained, "In its most extreme form, unitary executive theory can mean that neither Congress nor the federal courts can tell the President what to do or how to do it." Or as Donald Trump asserted as President, "When somebody's President of the United States, the authority is total" … "[I can] do anything I want."
Therefore, to prevent any present or future President from exceeding his or her legitimate authority under the justification of the unitary executive interpretation of the Constitution, and in order to address the most exigent threats to our constitutional system,
We as citizens and/or as candidates for political office call on Congress to enact legislation around the framework of the following four affiliated proposals:
1a - We pledge to advance a congressional resolution and legislation (and ultimately, if required, a Constitutional Amendment) reaffirming that nobody is above the law and the legal obligation of all members of BOTH the executive and legislative branches of the federal government (including the President of the United States) to abide by whatever rulings the courts adjudicate (even under what might be defined as a "national emergency" or martial law declared under justification of Article II of the United States Constitution); and assert that failure to obey a Supreme Court order not specifically excluded by Congress as outside the Court’s jurisdiction would trigger appropriate legal remedy, up to and including an impeachment investigation if absolutely necessary.
1b - Concurrently, we will apply the same principles to the electoral process so that national emergencies or other factors may not be declared to supersede constitutionally established modern judicial or electoral procedures to determine the final outcome of elections, even ones challenged for improprieties, including for President of the United States. We will support steps to ensure that the popular vote in each state will be accurately counted and then faithfully certified by electors with no misuse of the 12th Amendment; will advance stricter monitoring of and restrictions on campaign activities dangerous to our democratic processes, and enforcement of laws to hold violators accountable in the severest ways possible.
2 - We further pledge to insist that Congress revisit the 1976 National Emergencies Act so that presidential emergency powers will be subject to closer congressional oversight and easier override; will be more clearly and narrowly defined; will automatically expire after shorter durations; and that any emergency not proactively reaffirmed by Congress would automatically expire and be defunded by default. Any continuation of martial law declared by a President could be challenged by Congress before the Supreme Court for ultimate adjudication concerning its reversal; and would need to be upheld by the Supreme Court in order to remain in effect.
Instead of emergency powers automatically flowing towards the executive, all emergency powers EXCEPT those delegated to the President by the Constitution or by specific congressional legislation shall be reserved for the Congress and States in a way that would parallel other countries' modern constitutions and the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution itself.
Concurrently Congress will be urged to revisit the War Powers Act to place rational restraints on the ability of an out of control President to initiate military action or to preemptively launch nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction.
However, former President Trump’s response to the Mueller investigation and his conduct in office under the justification of the unitary executive theory resulted in stonewalling congressional inquiries; the misuse of the Department of Justice and of presidential emergency powers; as well as in other abuses. The inability of law enforcement and government watchdogs and Congress to rein in such abuses in a timely manner - especially in relation to #1 and #2 above regarding the defiance of a Supreme Court order and presidential emergency powers - laid bare the need for Congress to petition the judicial system to both affirm its oversight and subpoena powers and to speed up the processes by which such powers can be executed. Therefore;
3 – We pledge to support the advancement of legislation to bring the necessary institutions and officials of the federal government of the United States such as the Department of Justice and the Inspectors General of crucial departments under more balanced and shared joint congressional and executive branch oversight so as to ensure that independent investigations will be made expeditiously without obstruction or undue influence from the subjects who are themselves being investigated.
It is vital that the executive and legislative branches have the ability to monitor EACH OTHER, as well as to investigate any relevant law enforcement agency; that any disputes between them be adjudicated by the judicial system; and that the Justice Department itself must become a "neutral zone" in the words of former Attorney General Griffin Bell.
We pledge to look into a multitude of related issues separately, but with equal seriousness, including but not limited to: Presidential finances and taxes, emoluments and nepotism; abuse of presidential pardons; the misuse of the appointments process to leave vital law enforcement, national security and intelligence posts unfilled or to appoint "acting" directors without Congressional confirmation or oversight; and domestic surveillance.
4 - We furthermore pledge to support legislation to rein in other presidential powers as appropriate to prevent covering up abuses in the above areas, and also to guard the integrity of our democratic institutions by making the executive branch more transparent and subject to greater scrutiny. The most important of these reforms are ones which affect freedom of speech and information because these involve the most potentially irreversible threats to our constitutional system (and could lead to the closure of the windows from which other assaults on freedom could even be viewed, let alone countered); and issues of war and peace which could lead to the very destruction of our planet itself.
Some examples of these are: actions that threaten freedom of the press, including lawsuits and other threatening actions against media entities; the refusal to honor Freedom of Information Act requests or appropriate congressional subpoenas; abuse of the national security classification process; and the War Powers Act.
We encourage these proposals to be advanced in INSTITUTIONAL versus political terms by both major parties, by third parties (such as the Libertarians or Greens or others) and by activists and organizations from outside of government in order to persuade elected officials to support them on a multipartisan basis.
As citizens, we pledge to advance these propositions.
As candidates for President of the United States, the House of Representatives and Senate, and for all state offices related to presidential electoral process, we swear to use our legislative authority to implement the above proposals; and we expect to be held appropriately accountable by the people for our success or failure in so doing.
© 2020 Alex Crisafulli. All rights reserved.