November 30, 2006
Attack Terrorist Funding - Unless That Means Attacking Terrorist Funding (Clinton Judges, Take 2)
A federal judge has struck down a critical element of "connecting the dots" to fight against terrorism: she says it's unconstitutional to freeze assets of terrorist groups -- because terrorist groups are designated by the president, rather than by a laborious, multi-year process involving Congress and the judiciary, clerks and aides, and the entire labor force of the Bureau of Procrastination... during which multiple challenges could be filed, rulings made and overturned, written, published, discussed, stamped, mailed, folded, spindled, and mutilated, stretching the procedure out long enough to give the bad guys plenty of time (even at a snail's pace) to transfer all the funds to another dummy organization. Then we start all over again. (Though that's not exactly the way she phrased her opinion, I believe.)
A federal judge struck down President Bush's authority to designate groups as terrorists, saying his post-Sept. 11 executive order was unconstitutional and vague.
Some parts of the Sept. 24, 2001 order tagging 27 groups and individuals as "specially designated global terrorists" were too vague and could impinge on First Amendment rights of free association, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said.
The order gave the president "unfettered discretion" to label groups without giving them a way to challenge the designations, she said in a Nov. 21 ruling that was made public Tuesday.
The judge, who two years ago invalidated portions of the U.S. Patriot Act, rejected several sections of Bush's Executive Order 13224 and enjoined the government from blocking the assets of two foreign groups.
And here is the really shocking part: Judge Audrey Collins was appointed by -- wait for it -- President Bill Clinton! She was nominated in 1994 and confirmed by the Senate that same year, when it was still under the control of the Democrats.
Say, is there an echo in here?
The ruling was praised by David Cole, a lawyer for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Constitutional Rights, who represented the plaintiff Humanitarian Law Project. [Never trust any D.C. based organization that includes the word "humanitarian" -- as in vegetarian? -- in its title.]
It "says that even in fighting terrorism the president cannot be given a blank check to blacklist anyone he considers a bad guy or a bad group and you can't imply guilt by association," Cole said.
Sure you can! You aren't really trying, Mr. Cole. How about, "anyone who joins the Ku Klux Klan is guilty of racism?" Or this one: "anyone who joined any version of the Nazi Party after 1945 is a nutter who should be on a leash."
Similarly, I consider it quite reasonable to argue that anyone who joins al-Qaeda in Iraq is more or less a terrorist by definition (and an antisemite by hobby). And any fellow who joins a group called the Humanitarian Law Project is a screaming liberal guilty of utter jackassery... though that last might be more of a genetic disability than a guilty act: every mens rea first requires a rea, after all.
All right, I love picking on idiot rulings by Clinton judges; but there really is a deep point. I'm actually going somewhere with this.
The incoming Democratic majority insists that its primary interest, after raising the minimum wage, is defending the country. It's not your grandmother's Democratic Party -- no more of those anti-war protests, assaults on returning soldiers, bombings of ROTC buildings, attempts to exorcise Yog Sothoth from the center of the Pentagon, or concerned citizens against America chaining themselves to MX missiles. Not this Democratic Party! This is the steely-eyed party of John Murtha, Jim Webb, and Nancy Pelosi; of John McCain (oops, sorry about that), Harry Reid, and Joe Lieberman (oops, sorry about that).
And of course, everyone knows that terrorism travels on its stomach, to paraphrase Napoleon (which is about the only way to discuss what he said, unless you read French). The surest method of killing terrorism is to starve it out, cut off its funding.
Cut its funding by, you know, freezing its assets. Which raises an interesting question: are the Democrats actually in favor of cutting funding to terrorist groups -- hence will denounce this narcissistic, self-indulgent, flower-child, airy-fairy opinion?
Or will they remain true to their roots (and their BDS fix) and praise this decision as the first step in undoing all the horrible depredations against the precious civil liberties of Jemaah Islamiyah and the Tamil Tigers?
Alternatively, if you ask the Democrats, will smoke come out of their ears, as they intone in rising hysteria, "Norman, please explain -- only Norman can explain!" Sorry. Got caught up in a Star Trek moment; Captain Ed understands.
Most likely they'll take the fourth option, the one they've taken so often, it's on speed dial: say nothing. No comment. If a reporter is rude enough to ask Ms. Pelosi about this ruling, she can look blank and say that the 9/11 Commission already determined that there is no al-Qaeda.
Be thankful that President Bush is still president for a couple of years, and let's all hope that 2008 doesn't leave another coal in the electoral sock.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, November 30, 2006, at the time of 6:03 AM
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» If average intelligence is the standard… from Hoystory
Courtesy of “Best of the Web Today,” comes this gem from the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Audrey “average intelligence” Collins. “A federal judge struck down President Bush’s authority to designate groups as terr... [Read More]
Tracked on December 3, 2006 5:52 PM
The following hissed in response by: Mark McGilvray
Remove the stupid bitch from the bench and install her in federal prison.
The following hissed in response by: MTF
These people make me boil. One judge says the President has no constitutional authority to preserve and protect Americans from Terrorists, and another says the federal government has no authority to stop mass welfare payments to Katrina victims.
Today is not a good day for the judiciary.
Maybe we should ask for a Committee of Public Safety to form and review judges records...
The following hissed in response by: Davod
"Committee of Public Safety" They can set up a guillotine at each meeting.
The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist
Similarly, I consider it quite reasonable to argue that anyone who joins al-Qaeda in Iraq is more or less a terrorist by definition (and an antisemite by hobby).
i agree. Even ignoring such should also be considered a Terrorist act. Elected American officials, and those who elected them included.
Which brings us back to the Sunni Wahhabi ideology.
i'll never care to understand why we didn't just go over there, slap them down, and take their Sunni, al-Qaeda, Shia, Hezbo, Arab, Muslim, Islamic, Persian, or whatever oil. The results are in, and both Socialist and Conservative America have clearly handed Terrorism the *VICTORY* here, with Iran having a clear advantage.
The mullahs say we are trapped in Iraq? Well the head mullah also says he has a green aura so that tells you where crazy man is coming from.
Being "crazy" during times of War is not always a sign of a disadvantage or of losing. Are you actually saying that America is *NOT* trapped in Iraq?!?! Or, are you just talking...
Look at the remaining facts...the results. America is not only trapped, but most impotent looking and acting in the trap.
The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist at November 30, 2006 6:21 PM
The following hissed in response by: nk
Without having read the opinion ... we do have a rule against Bills of Attainder -- non-judicial determinations of guilt simply by legislative determination (or royal decree). Again, I say I have not read the opinion, but what if the President decided to freeze the assets of cranky, middle-aged commenters (that's me) on conservative blogs (that's you)?
The above hissed in response by: nk at November 30, 2006 6:35 PM
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
Again, I say I have not read the opinion, but what if the President decided to freeze the assets of cranky, middle-aged commenters (that's me) on conservative blogs (that's you)?
I'm not a lawyer, though I often play one in my demented fantasies. (Nor am I a conservative, and I never play one, either. So there.)
As I understand it, there are two basic ways you can argue against the constitutionality of a law or a power like this (there are technical mouthpiece terms for these, but I don't remember them; Patterico would know, or if you're an attorney, then you can probably fill in the blank yourself):
- You can argue that law or power is inherently unconstitutional, no matter how it's administered.
For example, if Congress passed a law saying that all people who believe in Islam must register with the government. This ipso facto violates the First Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment.
- You can accept that a law or power can be used constitutionally but argue that a particular implementation is unconstitutional.
For example, suppose a state legislature enacted a law requiring all hairdressers to get a license in order to charge money to cut hair; but in practice, the state refuse to grant hairdressing licenses to Jews (on a consistent but case by case basis).
In this case, there is nothing inherently unconstitutional about a state requiring hairdressing licenses; but it's being implemented in a patently unconstitutional way. The law itself needn't be struck down, but the courts should certainly force it to be administered more fairly.
Back to your question. I believe that a court should rule that it's within the plenary, warfighting power of the president to designate certain groups terrorist groups and freeze their assets. But that doesn't mean that every exercise of that power is constitutional. In your hypothetical, the particular implementation could be struck down, even while leaving intact the power itself.
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at November 30, 2006 7:12 PM
The following hissed in response by: nk
That's the trouble with nuncupativeness (nuncupativity?). Here I am, I call you a conservative whereas from former posts I have thought you a Libertarian and having called myself a conservative before now I sound like a Libertarian.
It seems to me that the Congress has the power to regulate banking. And it also has the power to delegate authority to the Executive to administer those regulations of banking so that every contested check need not be voted upon by the Congress.
Still, if I contracted with my bank to give it my money in return for its promise that it would safeguard it and return it to me with interest, am I not at least entitled to notice and an opportunity to defend a claim of superior right to my money, in an impartial forum, so I can pay my mortgage and grocery bills? And should not the burden be on the plaintiff to prove that I am such a bad person that I should not have the money, before I am deprived of it? Determined by an impartial tribunal?
I was not careless in my reference to Bills of Attainder. Another way to say it is "prescription" as practiced in the death throes of the Roman Republic.
The above hissed in response by: nk at November 30, 2006 8:00 PM
The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh
We're at war, nk. Your "notice and opportunity" in the case of a terrorist organization would be tantamount to not allowing us to freeze their assets at all... because the moment they received notice, they would immediately shift the money from one dummy organization to the next. Then laugh at us.
We're at war. Everybody's rights are necessarily curtailed during wartime.
This isn't new stuff; asset freezing/forfeiture has been used in drug cases and Mafia cases for decades.
The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh at November 30, 2006 10:19 PM
The following hissed in response by: Terrye
My point is we should consider the source.
The above hissed in response by: Terrye at December 1, 2006 4:05 AM
The following hissed in response by: cboldt
The post is a great critique of the news article, but I suggest that perhaps, just maybe, one might read the judge's opinion.
The judge hasn't upset the apple cart. The plaintiff still can't do what it asked to do, and the designation of SDGT is done by Treasury, not by the President. The judge found no infirmity in Treasury's power.
The judge said that "asociated with" needs better definition, ala the miller who delivers flour to the mafia-front pizza parlor isn't mafia just because he sells flour to them.
The above hissed in response by: cboldt at December 1, 2006 9:52 AM
The following hissed in response by: SDN
Unless the miller has been told that as part of running the Mafia out of town no one should sell them anything. If he's told that the pizza shop is a mafia front, and insists on selling to them anyway, then he has just declared himself a supporter of the Mafia.
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