Cheney lawyer claims Congress lacks power to conduct oversight over vice president

Just in case you still thought America is a Democracy

John Byrne

‘I trust you will not turn your back’ on respecting Congress, Democrat says

In what appears yet another effort to strengthen his position in the executive branch, the attorney for Vice President Dick Cheney said in a letter released by Congress Thursday that the Congress “lacks the constitutional power” to conduct oversight over his job.

The letter came in response to requests that Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington testify about the his role in approving harsh interrogation tactics — which some see as torture — at Guantanamo Bay.

Cheney has long battled Congress over oversight. In particular, Congress has sought, and failed, to acquire information from his office regarding his meetings with oil company executives to discuss energy policy in 2001. Cheney was also the subject of a Washington Post series which detailed his attempts to strengthen the position of the vice presidency as a bulwark against inquiry.

“As the U.S. Supreme Court made clear in Barenblatt V. United States, 460 U.S. 109 (1959), the power of Congress under the Constitution to inquire (which Members of Congress and congressional employees often refer to by the term “oversight”) is coextensive with its power to legislate,” Cheney lawyer Kathryn Wheelbarger wrote. “The power of Congress to legislate is not limitless and therefore is neither the power to inquire.

Just in case you still thought America is a Democracy

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