Washington, July 1 (ANI): President Barack Obama's claims of broad executive authority to carry out the war on terror are drawing fire from an unexpected source: federal judges nominated by President George W. Bush, who asserted the sweeping powers in the first place.
In recent weeks, three different Bush appointees considering cases relating to war-on-terror detainees have rejected arguments from Obama's Justice Department, which adopted virtually unchanged the positions the Bush administration had staked out.In each case, according to Politico, the Bush-appointed judge said the executive branch was overstepping its authority and claiming more powers than the law allowed.
The irony, of course, is that Democrats railed against Bush for what many saw as a power grab in the months and years after the Sept. 11 attacks - when Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney asserted vast executive branch authority to wage wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and to hold prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.
In the years since, courts from the Supreme Court on down have begun to pare back that authority, saying in several high-profile rulings that Bush overstepped his bounds.
Since taking office, Obama has adopted many of these broad claims to executive authority as he's inherited the war on terror from the past administration - but he is now facing some of the same legal constraints that Bush began to encounter in his closing years in office, sometimes in sharply worded decisions that show some courts have decided it's time to rein in executive power.
In April, Judge John Bates turned aside the arguments of the Obama and Bush administrations in ruling that some prisoners at the U.S.-run Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan were entitled to challenge their detention in court if they were captured outside Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, San Francisco-based Judge Jeffrey White surprised many legal analysts when he refused to dismiss a lawsuit an alleged Al Qaeda operative and convicted terrorist, Jose Padilla, brought against former Justice Department attorney John Yoo over his alleged involvement in Bush's decision to hold Padilla in a South Carolina Navy brig for more than three years.
And in a ruling last week, Judge Richard Leon second-guessed the Obama and Bush administrations' claims that a Syrian detainee, Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al-Janko, could be held at Guantanamo even though he was considered a spy by Al Qaeda and tortured at some length before he was captured by the U.S. in Afghanistan.
Several legal analysts said they doubted the judges were acting out of any desire to trip up Obama.
"I don't think it's partisan or personal," said David Rivkin, a conservative attorney and lawyer for the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Rivkin called the rulings "bad" and "deeply violative of constitutional principles," but he said the decisions from Bush judges were a logical outgrowth of Supreme Court decisions pushing the judiciary to assert itself.
Even after the stinging defeats, the Obama Justice Department is continuing to fight at least two of the rulings. (ANI)