Interesting factoid: Alberto Gonzales, nominee for the post of Attorney-General, apparently believes Gavin Newsom, as an elected executive of the government, has the right to take a stand against laws he considers unconstitutional:
MR. GONZALES: Senator, I do believe there may come an occasion when the Congress might pass a statute that the president may view as unconstitutional. And that is a position and a view not just of this president, but many, many presidents from both sides of the aisle.
Obviously, a decision as to whether or not to ignore a statute passed by Congress is a very, very serious one, and it would be one that I would spend a great deal of time and attention before arriving at a conclusion that in fact a president had the authority under the Constitution to —
OK, so I’m overstating it a little; one might feel that the President has certain rights that the Mayor of San Francisco does not. However, those rights aren’t enumerated in the Constitution, so I think I’m on pretty solid ground. And the general principle is clear. The mayor’s office is in the executive branch. Gonzales is stating that he feels the executive branch has the right to ignore statues passed if it feels they are unconstitutional.
My previous thoughts on the matter, in which I presciently presume that “Ashcroft and Bush no doubt feel that it is unconstitutional to force them to provide counsel to Jose Padillo,” are here.