Vol. 2, Issue 11, March 16, 2004
Missing Page of Constitution Found Giving President New Powers
A startling discovery at the Library of Congress may dramatically alter the federal government as we know it.
"A White House Fellow, while examining the original copy of the Constitution, made the discovery that two of the pages were stuck together," said James Billington, the Librarian of Congress. "We have absolutely no idea how this oversight occurred, and are frankly shocked that something so significant should have slipped by us."
The extra page adds five paragraphs to Article II, Section 2, which describes the powers vested in the President. The new paragraphs lie between paragraph 2, which describes his ability to make treaties, and what was previously thought to be paragraph 3, which describes his ability to fill vacant appointments during Senate recess.
"The new paragraphs present a much different vision of the check-and-balance system; to be honest, you have to wonder what the Founding Fathers were thinking," said Herman Tremain, one of the scholars assigned to examine the extra insert.
The new paragraphs specify, in part, that "He shall have power to vest as much authority as deemed necessary in the law enforcement agencies of the nation; and he shall nominate special law enforcement officers as deemed appropriate." They also specify that the president must be an individual of "unquestionable moral fiber" who "shall have refrained from adulterous activities, or questionable fundraising processes, or any other conduct unbecoming the leader of a nation. He shall be a true champion of the Republic - a true Republican, so to speak."
The White House was positively smug in a press conference yesterday afternoon.
"Of course, the president is eager to learn about how he can fulfill his constitutionally appointed duties to their maximum extent," said National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. "Once the missing text has been properly disseminated, we are confident that this more rounded description of President Bush's role in the American government will enable him to advance his agenda for a safer, more secure America even further."
Some, however, were skeptical of the finding.
"A complete missing page of the Constitution turns up after two centuries which just happens to expand the authority of the President?" said NYU political science professor Jacqueline Stein. "It truly defies belief, particularly since it includes a paragraph allowing the President to postpone an election if the nation is in "time of crisis." I also find it notable that an unconfirmed image posted to the "Smoking Gun" website showed the missing page looked suspiciously like it was printed in Helvetica."
"I really don't know how they got the Library of Congress to play along with this," Stein mused. "You would almost think that the White House had some sort of secret connection with the library community."