"The President has enhanced responsibility to resist unconstitutional provisions that encroach upon the constitutional powers of the Presidency."
That sure sounds like it could have been written by John Ashcroft. Or Alberto Gonzales. Or one of the many Bush-administration officials vigorously defending the NSA's warrantless monitoring of enemy communications into and out of the homeland. After all, it succinctly states the best explanation for why President Bush was empowered to go beyond the strictures of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and create a terrorist-surveillance program, designed to prevent a reprise of 9/11 ... or worse.
But the assertion does not come from the Bush administration at all. Nor from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, National Review, or any of the other precincts limned by today's American Left as megaphones for the president's dreaded "domestic spying program."
No, for this clear statement of principle, we have the Clinton administration to thank. Specifically, then-Attorney General Janet Reno's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) — the Justice Department's elite unit of lawyers for the lawyers. It was chiseled into a formal 1994 OLC opinion, aptly entitled "The President's Authority to Decline to Execute Unconstitutional Statutes," by then-Assistant Attorney General Walter Dellinger, OLC's top gun.
From at article at National Review.