It’s funny how those who criticize sweeping exercises of presidential power suddenly take a different stance once they become president. Take Barack Obama. As a senator and constitutional law professor, he felt that the government was abusing the state secrets doctrine by using it to shut down litigation that should be permitted to go forward. He also felt the idea of giving telecommunications companies immunity for their collaboration with the National Security Agency in warrantless surveillance was terrible. Here’s what his office said: “Senator Obama unequivocally opposes giving retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies… Senator Obama will not be among those voting to end the filibuster.”
That was Senator Obama. Now President Obama not only steps into the shoes of his predecessor, he actually has his Justice Department make still more preposterous arguments in which they insist they are above accountability to the law. Their new mantra is “sovereign immunity,” by which they lose consciousness of the annoying detail that, in America, the people and not the President hold sovereignty. ABC’s Jake Tapper takes a timely look at Barack Obama then and now, and Salon’s Glenn Greenwald continues to report on the issue.