Friday, March 16, 2012

Rule Breaker: George Washington

While sitting in my living room with a stomach ache that can only be described as having drank too much last night and not having enough water today, I was thinking about presidents and the Constitution.  I decided to see if I can look every president and find them breaking the Constitution in some way. 

Full disclosure, I am only going to put up the presidents breaking the rules as I find them. This will not be a comprehensive list but rather just a quick guide.  I hope this is useful when people tell you that Obama is the only president to break the Constitution or some ridiculous statement that is similar.

Let's start at the beginning.

George Washington: There's no way George Washington broke the Constitution because he was a founding father and knew the original intent. But I'll look anyway. 

Possible violations:
I can't confirm that the Senate voted on the appointments of George Washington.
Circumvented Pennsylvania's Gradual Abolition Act which made Pennsylvania inhospitable to slaveholders. Not breaking the Constitutional law but he is a lawbreaker.
The Residence Act of 1790 authorized the President to select the specific location of the permanent seat of government. Sounds like it should have been voted on.
Created a national bank. It is not explicitly mentioned in the Constitution.
The Whiskey Rebellion- he used military force to exercise control over citizens.
Executive orders or presidential proclamations- not mentioned in the Constitution
Executive privilege regarding the House ratifying the Jay Treaty. Executive privilege is not mentioned in the Constitution.
Also established the number of justices on the Supreme Court, there is no mention how many justices are supposed to be there.

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