August 17, 2006
Anna Katherine Diggs Deep
"The game is afoot," as Sherlock Holmes said. (Oh yes he did; in "the Adventure of the Abbey Grange," for example.)
The first federal judge has struck down President Bush's NSA al-Qaeda intercept program as an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment. Anna Katherine Johnston Diggs Taylor ruled for the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union:
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, monitoring phone calls and e-mails between people in the U.S. and people in other countries when a link to terrorism is suspected.
I can only suppose that the ACLU's argument is similar to the well-known constitutional doctrine that police may not tail a reporter they believe may be meeting with a wanted serial killer for for purpose of writing a book about him, as the police action might make it more difficult in future for that reporter to arrange interviews with other wanted felons.
The White House reacted quickly and predictably. Tony Snow said:
"United States intelligence officials have confirmed that the program has helped stop terrorist attacks and saved American lives," he said. "The program is carefully administered and only targets international phone calls coming into or out of the United States where one of the parties on the call is a suspected al-Qaida or affiliated terrorist."
The ACLU reacted quickly and predictably. Anthony Romero said:
"At its core, today's ruling addresses the abuse of presidential power and reaffirms the system of checks and balances that's necessary to our democracy," ACLU executive director Anthony Romero told reporters after the ruling.
He called the opinion "another nail in the coffin in the Bush administration's legal strategy in the war on terror."
Thank God for the Associated Press, or we would never guess how each party viewed the decision.
Interestingly, Judge Taylor was not appointed by Bill Clinton.
She was appointed by Jimmy Carter in 1979 (type Taylor,Anna in the text box and click Go, then click on her name when it pops up). Thus, her decision was not only quick but also predictable.
Having such a high predictability factor makes the decision itself meaningless -- except as a starter's gun to tell us that the game... but I repeat myself.
I see this as more grist for my argument that it would indeed matter tremendously whether a Democrat or a Republican is elected president in 2008: even if their foreign policy goals would be more or less the same, I believe Democrats are allergic to decisive presidential authority in the collection of intelligence information on our enemies, when that requires tapping phones within the U.S., and its dissemination to the military (or even law enforcement), when that requires breaching Gorelick's Wall.
Since I also believe that Congress and the courts are lagging indicators in the war against jihadi terrorism, and that we can only win with robust use of the military authority of the executive branch, I conclude that electing a Democrat in 2008 would have profoundly bad consequences in the war -- as in, we would be much more likely to lose, or at least suffer terrible attacks that dwarf 9/11, while en route to the next Republican president.
Taylor's decision is not the final word, of course; we always knew this would eventually be decided by the Supreme Court. The next step will be a stay of the judge's order pending review by a circus court; then that court's decision will be stayed pending review by the Supreme Court (which will definitely accept the writ of certiorari).
As John Hinderaker of Power Line has pointed out in a number of posts, Judge Taylor's decision flies in the face of repeated rulings by various federal appellate courts, including the FISA court so much beloved by the Democrats -- today, that is, when they fantasize it might stand in Bush's way while he tries to defend the nation. Those rulings held uniformly that the president does indeed have such broad authority. More than likely, the Sixth Circuit will overturn Judge Taylor's decision, and it will be the ACLU that files for Supreme Court review.
But let's keep a sharp weather eye on this case; or, to quote Mr. Holmes once more, in an analogous context, "I have investigated many crimes, but I have never yet seen one which was committed by a flying creature."
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, August 17, 2006, at the time of 1:49 PM
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» Carter Lackey Overturns Program That Protects This Country from Flopping Aces
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Tracked on August 18, 2006 10:39 AM
» ACLU Left "Standing" Out in the Cold (and a Game of Pin the Party on the Judge!) from Big Lizards
In a wonderful ruling today out of the Sixth Circus, the ACLU's gaggle of the perpeturally aggrieved was told to pack up their federal lawsuit against the NSA al-Qaeda intercept program; the appellate court held that none of them has... [Read More]
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The following hissed in response by: Terrye
Europeans use programs like this. I don't here the Democrats lecturing them.
If the reporters do not want this program to have a "chilling effect" when they interview the terrorists maybe they should go to the interview face to face. Like Danny Pearl. I doubt very much if they would be willing to go that far for the job.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at August 17, 2006 2:11 PM
The following hissed in response by: Big D
Democrats abuse presidential power much more than Republicans, but they get a break for mouthing the correct platitudes.
Never fear. Narcissists will save you when they realize that it means saving themselves as well. The Democrats will simply wait till the last moment, till all is nearly lost, then impose solutions that would make Bush blush. It is their way.
I wonder if electing Democrats is maybe the best way to restore their damaged sanity - there will be no sense in undermining our efforts against the enemy if it can no longer help you. We can then get serious about defeating these jihadi mutts.
The following hissed in response by: MTF
Gee whiz. Obviously the decision is a bad one, and even the Detroit Free Press, in a profile of the Judge last week, said the expected decision would be quickly overturned on appeal. What I find so amazing, O.K.--so I'm naive, anyway, what's amazing to me is that this this pretext was all the ACLU had to assert to get standing in a federal court. That's the first political hack job in this case!
Remember this judge? She got her first 15 minutes a few years ago in the Wayne State University "judge shopping" matter.
The following hissed in response by: hunter
This is one of the darkest days of the war, and it is entirely inflicted by those allegedly on our side.
Just how much help does the enemy get in this war from the ACLU and their supporters? Will they back off if we lose a city? Two cities? Ever?
The following hissed in response by: Robert Schwartz
Our Judicial system is shot through with terrorist enablers. Time to purge them.
The following hissed in response by: Rod
I voted for Jimmy in 76. The worst
judges in America are Carter judges! She is just the latest of a long series of bad/corrupt judges put on the bench by Jimmy.
Voted for Ronnie in 80 + 84
The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith
Excerpted and linked at Old War Dogs >> NSA eavesdropping program "unconstitutional" -- More
The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith at August 17, 2006 8:16 PM
The following hissed in response by: Big D
Voted for Carter? I worked the Carter campaign in 1980! My excuse was I was a young stupid unpaid volunteer who was voting in his first election. I can say that after working for the Carter Campaign I actually voted for Reagan - which speaks volumes.
It is not a shame to start out life stupid, just a shame to remain there.
The following hissed in response by: FredTownWard
This decision would be bad for America except for the fact that is certain to be overturned; even the 9th Circus, the most often reversed appellate court in the USA, has refused to strike down anything in the area of intelligence gathering. A good rule of thumb is that if your ruling is loonier than anything the 9th Circus has tried, you are wasting your time.
However, this decision is GOOD for the GOP just prior to the 2006 elections and not just because it reminds voters that most lunatic judges are Democrat appointees. This was a GOLDEN opportunity for Democrats wishing to fool voters into thinking they are serious about winning the war on terrorism even if they aren't serious about winning the war in Iraq to criticize this moronic decision and score some common sense points with voters. But they just couldn't do it. Democrat after Democrat took this opportunity to reiterate questions about the legality of this program. Earth to Democrats, in the aftermath of a foiled terrorist plot that would have rivalled 9-11, voters do NOT want hear your opinion that the NSA spy program is illegal; they want to hear what you are doing to MAKE it legal!
I stick to my prediction: somehow, some way Democrats are going to find a way to LOSE seats in BOTH houses in 2006. No other political party could do it, but the Democrats in 2006 are like no other political party in history.
"Vote Democrat, and Lose the War!"
Democrats actually think this will work!
The following hissed in response by: WB
If the ACLU and Justics Diggs are so concerned about the rights of individuals with regard to illegal wire tapping, where were they during the Clinton Administration during the time of Billy Dale and what about these arguments in 1996:
Joe Moakley (D-Mass:
Over a year ago President Clinton started the whole process by coming up with an antiterrorism proposal and beginning discussions with Republicans. When negotiations broke down, House Republicans wrote this bill on their own, under cover of night, and they left out one of the most important parts of President Clinton's bill--the provisions granting wiretapping authority.
Because Mr. Speaker, rather than just punishing terrorists, we need to prevent terrorism. And the one thing law enforcement officers have asked for time and again, is wiretapping authority.
Nita Lowey (D-NY:
Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the bill, and on behalf of a constituent whose daughter was lost in TWA flight 800, because this bill is an outrage and a disgrace to that family, and an outrage and a disgrace to this body.
This bill should include both taggants and enhanced wiretapping provisions. Instead, it has neither. Law enforcement has repeatedly asked for these critical tools to combat terrorism.
Charles Schumer (D-NY):
Mr. Speaker, if we want to know why people are sick and fed up with Congress, look at this debate. On Sunday the President asked and all the law enforcement people asked for two things, the top two things they needed to fight terrorism. One, taggants. Identifiers in explosives, particularly black power and smokeless; and two, multipoint wiretaps. Neither are in this bill.
Neither are in this bill because the NRA did not want it. Neither are in this bill because forces on the extreme dictated what the Republican Party was going to put forward.
This bill is a sham. It does a few good things, but it does not give law enforcement what they want, plain and simple.
Maybe we need to remind them that what was good during one administration that contributed to the terror threats of today should be acceptable in the administration that is actually fighting terror.
Maybe we need to send this judge a reminder as well. This is absolute blatant hypocrisy of the members of Democratic party.
What can we do about this?
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