During today’s White House Press briefing, Tony Snow insisted that the administration has not intentionally sought to expand executive power:
QUESTION: Is this [Supreme Court decision] a setback in terms of the broader goal of this administration to expand executive authority?
SNOW: I don’t think it’s ever been the goal of the administration to expand executive authority. In a time of war, the president has tried to act in a way that meets the needs and obligations of a commander in chief against a dispersed and highly unique kind of enemy.
But we don’t have expand executive power sessions. So nobody thinks in terms of, How do we expand executive power?
Nobody except the Vice President of the United States. Here’s Cheney on 12/20/05:
I believe in a strong, robust executive authority. And I think the world we live in demands it…I think you’re right, probably the end of the next administration, you had the nadir of the modern presidency in terms of authority and legitimacy, then a number of limitations that were imposed in the aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate. But I do think that to some extent now, we’ve been able to restore the legitimate authority of the presidency.
From Day 1 of the Bush presidency, Cheney has lead a vigorous campaign to expand executive power, which he described to Bob Woodward. Today’s decision was, in fact, a setback in Cheney’s efforts.