"People Should Not be Afraid of their Government. A Government Should be Afraid of Its People." -- V

August 18 2006

Warning -- Exceedingly lengthy and highly political post.  Because I like you guys, so it's only fair.

This just in from the New York Times:

Judge Finds Wiretap Actions Violate the Law

"A federal judge ruled yesterday that the National Security Agency's program to wiretap the international communications of some Americans without a court warrant violated the Constitution, and she ordered it shut down.

"The ruling was the first judicial assessment of the Bush administration's arguments in defense of the surveillance program, which has provoked fierce legal and political debate since it was disclosed last December. But the issue is far from settled, with the Justice Department filing an immediate appeal and succeeding in allowing the wiretapping to continue for the time being.

"In a sweeping decision that drew on history, the constitutional separation of powers and the Bill of Rights, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of United States District Court in Detroit rejected almost every administration argument.

"Judge Taylor ruled that the program violated both the Fourth Amendment and a 1978 law that requires warrants from a secret court for intelligence wiretaps involving people in the United States. She rejected the administration's repeated assertions that a 2001 Congressional authorization and the president's constitutional authority allowed the program.

"It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly when his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights," she wrote. "The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another."

Love this woman.  Love, love, love this woman.

"...said the decision was the work of a liberal judge advancing a partisan agenda."

Well the only way we'd ever get an unbiased view is if they had a judge who was not from either party rule, or some hapless, blessedly oblivious farming sod from Nebraska and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have ever been very charitable toward the idea of Libertarian//Green//Independent members gaining a foothold.  [Let alone clueless Nebraskan sods, which is in no way a reflection on the general character of anyone originating in said state.]

"...She has ruled for the A.C.L.U. in a lawsuit challenging religious displays on municipal property. But she has also struck down a Detroit ordinance favoring minority contractors. "Her reputation is for being a real by-the-books judge," said Evan H. Caminker, the dean of the University of Michigan Law School.

"...The White House is backing a plan, drafted by Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, with the blessing of President Bush, that would allow a secret court to review the legality of the operation."

Yeah, because secret courts are completely unbiased.  Anne Boleyn was indicted by a relatively secret court.  Look where that got her.

And I'm sorry, anything that's being referred to as the 'Specter legislation' is just creepy.  Sure it's superficial.  In keeping with the Tudor analogy, this time regarding Anne of Cleves, Henry divorced her just because she was a little aesthetically challenged.  So we're good.

"Judge Taylor rejected the government's threshold argument that she should not hear the case at all because it concerned state secrets. Dismissal on those grounds was not required, she wrote, because the central facts in the case — the existence of the program, the lack of warrants and the focus on communications in which one party is in the United States — have been acknowledged by the government."

Tried their face.

"The president also violated the Constitution's separation of powers doctrines, Judge Taylor ruled. Neither a September 2001 Congressional authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda nor the president's inherent constitutional powers allow him to violate the 1978 law or the Fourth Amendment, she said."

Tried their mom's face.

"There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution," she wrote, rejecting what she called the administration's assertion that the president "has been granted the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution itself."

Um, ouch?  *Cringe*  Somebody just got bitch-slapped in a federal ruling.  That's too blatant for written judicial documents, in my opinion.  "Hereditary kings" is random and not pertinent at all.  White 'er out.

"It is disappointing that a judge would take it upon herself to disarm America during a time of war," said Representative Peter Hoekstra..."

CONFLICT.  KAHN---FLIKT.  You're in the Senate Congress.  You should know.  Hell, I know this, and I only have one semestre of government class for reference.

"Judge Taylor did give the government a minor victory, rejecting on national security grounds a challenge to a separate surveillance program involving data mining. That ruling is consistent with recent decisions of federal courts in San Francisco and Chicago.

"Judges in those cases drew a distinction between the wiretapping program, which the administration has acknowledged and defended, and the data mining program, which has not been officially confirmed."

Eh, neither have those 'black spots' in Europe, so no worries.  *Sarcasm*

And finally, to close, since a picture is worth a thousand words, the caption must total around 500:

"Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said Thursday that the administration would do all it could to continue an eavesdropping program ruled unconstitutional by Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of federal court."

TOMORROW:: Coffee as a Health Drink.  Your reward for actually reading this far.

Jonathan Wood

August 19 2006
Representative Peter Hoekstra isn't in the Senate. Should've paid attention in that semester of government.

Jonathan Wood

August 19 2006
I just realized that sounds harsh...should have added a smilie... Here you go ;-)