Civil Discourse Now

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   Office holders in this country do not possess “rights” via that office. Governments - and, by extension, individuals who hold office in governments - hold power. People have rights. A government official has rights as a person, as do we all.
The current occupant of the Oval Office tweeted yesterday:
“As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong? In the meantime, the never ending Witch Hunt, led by 13 very Angry and Conflicted Democrats (& others) continues into the mid-terms!”
I do not remember a President who claimed to have an “absolute” anything, but the person who holds that office has no “rights” that follow from it.
  Article II, section 2 of the Constitution delineates “Powers of the President” - not “Rights of the President.” Article II, section 3 describes “additional powers and duties.”
  This distinction is important. A premise of the political philosophy embraced at the time of the writing of the Declaration and, later, the Constitution is set out in the Preamble to the Declaration of Independence:
“That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...”
  People come together and consent to government. People possess “unalienable rights,” with which they are “born.” Government - and, by extension, individual who hold office in government - do not possess “rights.” The notion that the President, by virtue of that office, has any “rights” contradicts the concept of consent by the “governed.”
  Also, any such power as Article II, Section 2 confers upon the President to pardon is not “absolute,” as the text itself states two restrictions in that the President “shall have the Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.” The power to pardon is limited to Federal crimes and excludes impeachment.
  Perhaps the greatest thing for which we have to thank George Washington was his commitment to avoid monarchy. There also are aspects of Washington’s, most notably his claim of ownership over other human beings, that mark him as seriously flawed. The current occupant of the Oval Office is not remotely close to Washington in greatness. DT’s claim of having an “absolute” anything by way of office is both absurd and a demonstration of his ignorance of the Constitution he swore to protect and defend. Such a claim also should alarm everyone who values the liberty our Constitution is meant to protect.

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