Quote of the Day: Vice President Is a “Barnacle” on the Legislative Branch

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June 26, 2008 2:35 p.m.

Between David Addington failing to submit testimony, and John Yoo forgetting his words, not a whole lot was cleared up by the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay.

But on the bright side Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), did manage to clarify a very important question. Just what branch of government is the Vice President in?

Cohen: Mr. Addington, what branch are we in?

Addington: Ah, sir, perhaps the best that can be said is that the Vice President belongs neither to the executive nor to the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. That’s from two legal opinions issued by the office of legal counsel to the Department of Justice dated March 9th, 1961, and April, I believe, it’s 18th, 1961 by, I believe, Mr. Katzenbach if I remember. . .

Cohen: So he’s a member of the legislative branch?

(cross talk)

Addington: No. I said attached by the Constitution to the latter. He is not a member of the legislative branch because the Constitution says that the Congress consists of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Constitution further says that the Senate consists of Senators and the House of Representatives consists of Representatives and he is neither a Senator nor a Representative.

Cohen: But he is attached to the legislative branch?

Addington: That’s the quote I read you.

Cohen: So he’s kind of a barnacle.

(voice off camera): Kind of a what?!

Addington: He is attached. . . the word was attached by the Constitution to the latter. I don’t consider the Constitution as a barnacle, Mr. Cohen.

Cohen: No, the Vice President. Since he’s really not fish or fowl, he’s just attached to something.

But don’t take our word for it:

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