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紐時賞析/美眾院告川普 史無前例法律戰

2019-09-11 15:40紐時賞析

美國總統川普。美聯社
美國總統川普。美聯社
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The House v. Trump:Stymied Lawmakers Increasingly Battle in the Courts

美眾院告川普 史無前例法律戰

Democrats took control of the House this year promising to use legislation and investigations to check President Donald Trump. But facing substantial roadblocks to each, they are increasingly opposing him in a different way: Eight months into their majority, the House is going to court at a tempo never seen before.

美國民主黨今年掌控眾議院,承諾要用立法和調查權節制川普總統,卻在兩方面皆面臨巨大障礙,因此他們日益改採另一種不同的方法反對他:在民主黨成為多數黨的八個月來,眾院以前所未見的快節奏走向法院。

Fighting in courtrooms as much as in hearing rooms, the House has already become a party to nine separate lawsuits this year, while also filing briefs for judges in four others. More lawsuits are being drafted, according to a senior aide to Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

眾院今年在法庭奮戰和在聽證會場一樣賣力,迄今已成為九件不同訴訟案的當事人,另有四案正向法官提告中。眾院議長南西.波洛西的一名資深幕僚表示,更多訴訟正在起草中。

The fights include efforts to reveal Trump’s hidden financial dealings, force his aides to testify about his attempts to obstruct the Russia investigation, challenge his invocation of emergency powers to spend more taxpayer money on a border wall than Congress approved and defend laws like the Affordable Care Act that his Justice Department abandoned.

這些爭戰包括設法揭露川普隱藏的財務交易,強迫他的幕僚就他試圖妨礙通俄門案調查一事作證,挑戰他行使緊急狀態權力、花費超過國會批準額度的納稅人金錢在邊界築牆的適法性,以及捍衛遭川普的司法部廢止的法律,如平價醫療法。

While it is routine for the executive branch to be in court, it was once vanishingly rare for Congress, which has typically used its authority to pass laws, appropriate funds and investigate the executive branch, to balance out the president’s power.

行政部門上法院是例行公事,對國會來說卻曾屬難得一見,國會通常會行使其立法,撥款及調查行政部門的權力,用以制衡總統的權力。

Now, as Senate Republicans refuse to take up the bills they pass, Trump administration witnesses refuse to show up for their hearings and the president levels his own highly unusual lawsuits against the House’s oversight requests, two of the three branches of government are regularly facing off before the third, creating a new stress with uncertain consequences for the political system.

“It is unprecedented,” said Charles Tiefer, a former longtime House lawyer who is now a University of Baltimore law professor. “The challenges for the House counsel ebb and flow over time, but this is like nothing else in history.”

「這是前所未見的。」曾長期擔任眾院律師,現為巴爾的摩大學法律教授的提佛說,「眾院法律顧問面對的挑戰會隨著時間而起起伏伏,但這可是史無前例的。」

The consequences of the specific disputes could be significant. In the short term, they could determine whether House Democrats are able to drag information to light about Trump that could lead to his impeachment or damage his reelection prospects. And potential decisions by the higher courts could clarify the long-ambiguous line between a president’s secrecy power and Congress’s oversight authority — determining whether future presidents can systematically stonewall congressional subpoenas.

這些特定爭論可能會有很重要的影響。短期而言,它們可能決定眾院民主黨人能否揭露可能讓川普被彈劾,或損害他連任前景的資訊。而且較上層法院可能做出的判決,也可能釐清總統機密權與國會監督權之間長期模糊的界線,並決定未來的總統是否可以有系統地拒絕國會傳喚。

But the broader phenomenon is also significant.

As an immediate matter, the surge in litigation is a consequence of Trump’s norm-busting presidency.

不過更明顯的現象同樣也很重要。

近在眼前的事情是,訴訟激增是川普任內打破常規造成的結果。

文/Charlie Savage and Nicholas Fandos 譯/莊蕙嘉

說文解字看新聞

本文的單字多與「總統制」(presidential system)有關,像是介紹「權力分立」(separation of powers)的制度,美國聯邦政府有三大分支(branch),包括白宮為首的行政(executive)部門、參議院 (The Senate)和眾議院 (The House of Representatives)代表的立法(legislative)部門,以及聯邦最高法院以降的司法(judicial)部門。

監督與制衡(checks and balances)則是三權分立的核心概念。此與「議會內閣制」(parliamentary system)中,國會多數黨掌握執政權,行政立法一體的情形不同。

國會的監督權(oversight authority)與總統的機密特權(secrecy power),何者為重?兩方都在等司法機關給答案。Authority指伴隨正式職位而來的權力,就是「職權」。Oversight在本文指「監督」,但也指「疏忽失察」。Appropriate既是撥款的撥用,也指占用、擅用,甚至是後現代藝術的手法「挪用」(postmodern appropriation)。意指為何,須從上下文判斷。

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