President Bush’s memo fetish is well documented, but the Obama administration has just made public a series of memos that said the executive had extraordinary powers far beyond those traditionally considered legal. According to the crack legal minds of the Bush administration, the president could overrule the other branches of government.
Five days before Bush left office, the Justice Department announced that many of those opinions no longer counted, conveniently enough.
Los Angeles Times:
They embraced the view that the president, acting alone, had the authority to override the other branches of government on a broad range of issues.
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, in a memo written six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, would have allowed U.S. troops to search houses and seize suspected terrorists without a court-approved warrant. The Pentagon never used that power, although it considered it, according to a former Bush administration lawyer.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Justice Department lawyers also said the military’s need to go after terrorists in the U.S. could override constitutional protections guaranteeing the right to free speech.