Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 13, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

NSA FOLLIES, CONT'D....Arlen Specter has completed "tortuous" negotiations with the White House on a new bill that will require the president to submit the NSA's domestic spying program to the FISA court for review. That might be a welcome smidgen of progress except for one thing: it turns out that "require" isn't actually the right word.

An administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the bill's language gives the president the option of submitting the program to the intelligence court, rather than making the review a requirement.

The official said that Bush will submit to the court review as long the bill is not changed, adding that the legislation preserves the right of future presidents to skip the court review.

Let me get this straight. Specter's bill gives Bush the "option" of submitting the NSA program to the FISA court for review, and Specter has a handshake agreement with the White House that Bush will, in fact, submit it. What's more, it's a one-time deal that affects no other program and no future president.

What's the point of this? The president already has the "option" of submitting the NSA program to the FISA court for review. He can do it anytime he wants. I'm a little mystified about exactly what this legislation is supposed to accomplish.

UPDATE: CNN reports some additional details:

In addition, the legislation would give the administration greater flexibility in making emergency applications to the FISA court, expanding its window for doing so from three to seven days. Currently, applications must be made by the attorney general or a deputy; the bill would allow a designee to make an application, Specter said.

The measure would allow for roving wiretaps instead of taps of a phone at a fixed point, he said, and spells out that monitoring a telephone call between two overseas locations that is transmitted through a U.S. terminal would not be subject to FISA approval.

So the bill loosens requirements for wiretaps, thus giving the president more authority than he already has, and in return requires nothing new in the way of judicial review. Those must have been some truly tortuous negotiations, all right.

Kevin Drum 6:32 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (106)

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Comments

And it was Arlen Specter who was tortured---by the President who has specialized in torture.

Posted by: LeisureGuy on July 13, 2006 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

And don't forget, Bush will just issue a signing statement making it all moot...

Posted by: bigcat on July 13, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Leisure Guy -- you beat me to it!

Posted by: CatStaff on July 13, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, you seem so surprised? This has been going on since at least the Anita Hill hearings. When you gonna learn that Arlen only talks the talk. He crawls the walk.

Posted by: moe99 on July 13, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

as we say down gitmo way - piece o' cake!

your pal,
blake

Posted by: blake on July 13, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Why would Bush do something that is optional when he already is refusing to do what is required by law?

Posted by: Grumpy on July 13, 2006 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Specter's bill gives Bush the "option" of submitting the NSA program to the FISA court for review, and Specter has a handshake agreement with the White House that Bush will, in fact, submit it. What's more, it's a one-time deal that affects no other program and no future president.

Thats sounds like a GREAT deal. Respect for the the Commander in Chief of the War on Terrorism means Americans should defer to him on what actions the American government needs to take to protect ourselves from the terrorists. If George W Bush in his considered judgment believes more wiretappings are necessary so that the terrorists don't attack us again as they did on 9/11, we should accept his judgment because he has classified information that we do not. One can not be free and dead at the same time. Giving Bush this power makes America more free because we have less chance of dying from the hands of the terrorists.

Posted by: Al on July 13, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

MO: "Kevin, you seem so surprised? This has been going on since at least the Anita Hill hearings"

No, Mo, since the Grassy Knoll and the Warren Commission. For forty years, fooling all the people, all the time.

Posted by: Vet on July 13, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

What does it accomplish? It gives both sides Spectors and Bushes a chance to save face in the face of Hamdan. Spector can claim he got cheney to knuckle under. Bush can claim he gets congressional authority to move forward.

Of course, we get fucked in the ass....

Posted by: jerry on July 13, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Al, you're the bestest parody troll ever!

Posted by: Lionel Hutz, attorney-at-law on July 13, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't his name Senator Spineless Specter?

Posted by: pgl on July 13, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Very seriously Kevin, grrlfriend Althouse is claiming to be confused too. Now is your chance to ask her what she thinks of Hamdan vs. NSA Wiretapping. She has been conspicuously avoiding the topic since the decision was made.

It's a rare chance to get a lying sleazebag lawyer professor like a Reynolds or Althouse on the spot.

Posted by: jerry on July 13, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know who's more spineless, Spector or Roberts, Jeebus.

They really must have squeezed old Alren's chestnuts over that Judiciary leadership post. I'm ashamed of Pennsylvania's Senatorial representation...

Posted by: FuzzFinger on July 13, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

Warning: Totally off topic.

This being such a depressing day and all, I thought I would share something that always cheers me up. I went to Coachella Music Festival (near Palm Springs, CA) this year and saw Daft Punk live. Someone recorded the set and I edited intro tracks. Warning, it's weirdo electronic music, but it's fun and they wear robot helmets, so...

Anyway, you can download it here:
Link

Posted by: enozinho on July 13, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Has the right figured out that Democrat presidents will have this same quasi-dictatorial authority? Anyone taking bets on how long it takes them to scream for militias to counter THAT tyrannical government? Timothy McVeigh will be the John Brown of American conservatism if Hillary is elected.

Posted by: walt on July 13, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Has the right figured out that Democrat presidents will have this same quasi-dictatorial authority?

No need. The classified part of the signing statement will state that this law is applicable only to Republican Presidents.

Posted by: nut on July 13, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

There is one thing that could come out of this, and that is for the first time ever the Bush administartion's program would be reviewed by a real court. This would be a very positive move so long as the legal standards were not so watered down as to make the legal review a formality.

We should have a court review this program, just not water down the law in order to get it.

Posted by: Catch22 on July 13, 2006 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Bush: The Decider
Specter: The Negotiator
Cheney: The Shooter

1 or 2 more and they can form their own little League of Justice super-hero club!

ps. Frist: The Flubber...?

Posted by: Fred F. on July 13, 2006 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Arlen Specter:

It is my duty to retroactively legalize any previous illegal activity by the President.
What a knucklehead. Posted by: ihateemo on July 13, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a little mystified about exactly what this legislation is supposed to accomplish.

I'm not. It's supposed to accomplish exactly nothing, while generating headlines that say the precise opposite.

I liked John Dean on The Daily Show calling today's conservaloonies "proto-fascists." I think that about sums it up. John Dean!

America, we hardly knew ye.

Posted by: craigie on July 13, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

News flash from Deep South in The Home of the Brave (TM):

The worst thing that usually happens at Old MacDonald's Petting Zoo, in Alabama, involves the resident emu who, visitors are warned, has been known to deliver a "hard peck".

Yet the zoo is listed as a critical potential target for terrorists, according to an internal audit by the US government that condemns the Department of Homeland Security for taking a too-broad approach to the risk of attack. The report, by the department's inspector-general who serves as a watchdog, lists numerous other sites in the National Asset Database "whose criticality is not readily apparent" - including the Sweetwater flea market in Tennessee, Amish Country Popcorn in Indiana, a kangaroo conservation centre, a cheque-cashing outlet and a doughnut shop. Other, vaguer, entries include "a restaurant", "a travel stop" and "beach at end of a street".

CODE RED! al Qaeda is threatening to attack the Sweetwater Flea market in Tennessee!

Oh, and don't go down to the "beach at the end of a street"! There are Islamofascists planting bombs under your beach towel!

CODE RED! We're at war! We're at war!

Red state Republicans are such WATBs.

Still, it's nice that they're worried about the kangaroos. I like that.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 13, 2006 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK
I'm a little mystified about exactly what this legislation is supposed to accomplish.

Its supposed to generate good press and good feelings about the President and the Republican Congress and the domestic spying operation, and therefore help boost Republican electoral prospects while concentrating more power in the hands of the executive.

Clear enough, now?

Posted by: cmdicely on July 13, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK
Has the right figured out that Democrat presidents will have this same quasi-dictatorial authority?

The good thing about quasi-dictatorial authority is that you can use it to minimize the probability of an opposing party's candidate every taking office.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 13, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

floopmeister >"...it's nice that they're worried about the kangaroos. I like that."

Such bias !

Where`s your concern for the donut shop where all those "law enforcement" people hang out ?

"...Democrats are for people, Republicans are for things..." - Oilfieldguy-firedoglake.com

Posted by: daCascadian on July 13, 2006 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

I don't like donut eaters, daCascadian. They're so much 'Holier than thou' than the rest of us.

Posted by: floopmeister on July 13, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

For all of the latest NSA scandal news, legal documents, key statutes and other essential documents, see:
"The NSA Domestic Spying Resource Center."

Posted by: AvengingAngel on July 13, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

Craigie,

If my next child is a daughter it will be a tough call between Johndine, Jamesdine, and Howardine. Although I'm still leaning toward the latter. Ought to build character.

Posted by: toast on July 13, 2006 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

If my next child is a daughter it will be a tough call between Johndine, Jamesdine, and Howardine. Although I'm still leaning toward the latter. Ought to build character.

Excellent. Whichever you pick, one thing is certain: that kid is toast.

Posted by: craigie on July 13, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

Has the right figured out that Democrat presidents will have this same quasi-dictatorial authority?

The good thing about quasi-dictatorial authority is that you can use it to minimize the probability of an opposing party's candidate every taking office.
Posted by: cmdicely on July 13, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

This may be the difference between liberals and conservatives. Conservatives are quite prepared to trust a Democratic President with this "quasi-dictatorial authority." Especially, when there is no evidence that such authority is being misused in any way. Apparently, unlike liberals, conservatives are prepared to believe that even a Democratic President would undertake such actions in protecing the nation, as opposed to his own political interests.

Posted by: Chicounsel on July 13, 2006 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Don't forget the larger point: Specter's plan would make the program fully legal. As opposed to its present, illegal status. Specter claims he is subjecting it to "judicial review," but that's a joke. Judicial review would involve oversight of each individual wiretap. Instead, the FISA court will get to review the whole program once. And assuming they rubber stamp it, it will be fully legal from then on out.

Posted by: owenz on July 13, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, unlike liberals, conservatives are prepared to believe that even a Democratic President would undertake such actions in protecing the nation, as opposed to his own political interests.

HAHAHAHAHA! That's pretty funny. And your evidence for this is....

I think cmdicely has it exactly right - "conservatives" (they must now go in quotes because they are actually nothing of the sort) intend to bend, break and disregard the law as much as is required to create a one-party state. That's where we are going. Oh, and it is abundantly clear that to "conservatives", the interests of the country and the interests of The Party are now one and the same. Wake up.

Posted by: craigie on July 13, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Seriously off topic:

WW3 is about to break out in the Middle East.
Where's bull shit boy?
Out riding his mountain bike?
Or just hopelessly overwhelmed as usual?

Posted by: koreyel on July 13, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Of course it was torturous--he had his head stuffed up his butt. Must have hurt a bit (except he should be used to it by now.

Posted by: BroD on July 13, 2006 at 9:09 PM | PERMALINK

Don't'cha just love it when Arlen Specter holds his own feet to the fire?

Posted by: RT on July 13, 2006 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

I am interested in your view on recent events koreyel.

Please share.

Posted by: Jay on July 13, 2006 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that when the death of the US is explicated 50 or 5000 years from now, that historians will just point to the fact that so few cared that an actual public visit to the mortuary and attendant burial were extraneous and a little tacky.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 13, 2006 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

" I suspect that when the death of the US is explicated......"
Jeffrey Davis

"Life was better in Iraq under Saddam."
Stephen Kriz

What troops again does the left support?

Posted by: Jay on July 13, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

What troops again does the left support?

How does the right "support" these troops again? A draft? Nope. Taxes to pay for this adventure? Nope. Volunteering? Strike three!

Guess it's easy to "support" something if it doesn't actually cost you anything.

Sorry, I didn't mean to respond to Jay. I'm going to wash my hands now.

Posted by: craigie on July 13, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Where's bull shit boy?

Bullshit boy is in Germany eating BBQ greyhound.

.

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on July 13, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, I'm still looking for the part of the Constitution where it says Congress gets to run the war, too.

Posted by: Down goes Frazier on July 13, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like immigration reform bills. A way of stalling around pretending that the existing laws mean anything to the lawless and corrupt Washingtonians.

Posted by: Myron on July 13, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

This is irrelevent. The effectiveness of the program has been destroyed by the leaks and publicity. We're debating the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 13, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

The effectiveness of the program has been destroyed by the leaks and publicity.

So true. And now that everyone knows we arrest people for murder, all murders have stopped. Oh, wait...

Posted by: craigie on July 13, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

That analogy doesn't even come close cragie.

I am guessing your a believer in polls, since you are a liberal and derive your core values from said polls, a majority of Americans support the NSA effort. Why would you continue to beat the drum of a losing cause? Oh wait...........

Posted by: Jay on July 13, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah craigie
your analogies don't come close
and
you derive your core values from polls
So there!
You've been told


You know Dear Leader doesn't even look at polls.
And, the insurgency is in its last throes.

Posted by: Pierre Asciutto on July 13, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

The laws are getting weaker everyday.

Posted by: office furniture on July 13, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Bush's whitehouse spends a million dollars a year on polling, and he doesn't look at any of it just to prove what a strong proud proud strong he is!

Posted by: jefff on July 13, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

The laws are getting weaker everyday.
http://www.furnitureglobe.com/furnitures/c/office-furniture/

Posted by: office furniture on July 13, 2006 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Specter may be the closest thing to an honorable man the GOP has, now that John McCain has demonstrated he will lick George Bush's shit up off the floor to get elected president. But even Specter is pathetically in thrall to these fascists and values the GOP over the good of the country.

The GOP needs to be dismantled and their entire Congressional delegation imprisoned or exiled as punishment for their fealty to this would-be tyrant who can't even string ten words together into a coherent sentence.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 13, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Those must have been some truly tortuous negotiations, all right."

It's tough, falling on your knees all the time.

Posted by: pjcamp on July 13, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Specter's efforts are an abomination. Particularly given the Supreme Courts recent ruling in Hamden.

Specter has lost all of my respect. I never want to here his name mentioned. He has joined Senator Hatch in the empty suit/follower column of the republican party.

Posted by: patience on July 13, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Well don't sugar coat it Mr. Kriz.
Tell us how you really feel.

Posted by: Jay on July 13, 2006 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

URGENT!
Even as the administration exploited this Official Story (or "Official Conspiracy Theory") as the pretext to launch new wars long in the making, independent researchers began to accumulate a vast body of evidence suggesting a different narrative for 9/11: that of the Inside Job.
The 9/11 events and the anomalies in the official story raised Unanswered Questions about:
- the unprecedented failure of the US air defense system on the morning of the attacks;
- the AWOL military chain of command during the actual attacks, including the inexplicable behavior of the presidential entourage;
- the seeming impossibility of official claims with regard to Flight 77;
- the evidence that Flight 93 was shot down;
- contradictions and dubious evidence in the official claims about the alleged hijackers and masterminds, and doubts about their real identities;
- signs that the alleged hijackers enjoyed high-level protection against discovery by honest investigators;
- evidence that the alleged hijackers were financed by states allied with US intelligence;
- suspicious and massive international financial trades suggesting foreknowledge of the attacks;
- widespread signs of official foreknowledge and, in fact, advance preparation for the 9/11 attack scenario;
- the long-running links between Islamist fundamentalist terror cells and US covert operations, dating back to CIA support for the anti-Soviet mujahedeen and Osama Bin Ladin himself;
- the demolition-like collapse of the Twin Towers and of a third skyscraper, WTC 7;
- and questions concerning who could have logically expected to derive benefit in the aftermath of a massive attack on the United States.
The suspicions received further confirmation a few weeks after September 11th, with the arrival of anthrax letters targeted only at opposition politicians and media figures, and timed to coincide with the introduction of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Google: 9/11 inside job


Posted by: Truth 9/11 on July 13, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, I'm still looking for the part of the Constitution where it says Congress gets to run the war, too.

The moron can't have been looking very hard. Try Article I, Section 8:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;....

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

---------

So yeah, besides the right to declare war, raise and support an army and navy, regulate the capture and treatment of enemy captives, and make all laws regarding the above, Congress has no power at all....

Posted by: Stefan on July 13, 2006 at 11:57 PM | PERMALINK

Specter may be the closest thing to an honorable man the GOP has,

High praise indeed....

Posted by: Stefan on July 13, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan - you gave an excellent summary of various roles the Constitution gives Congress in the conduct of a war.

Now, here's a tougher question: Does the Constitution give the Courts a specific role or roles in the conduct of a war?

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 14, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

One can not be free and dead at the same time. Giving Bush this power makes America more free because we have less chance of dying from the hands of the terrorists.
Posted by: Al on July 13, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees.

Give me Liberty, or give me death.

Better dead, than Muhammed.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 14, 2006 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

Warning: Totally off topic.
Posted by: enozinho on July 13, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, enozinho.
How's the wildfire doing out by there?

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 14, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

Now, here's a tougher question: Does the Constitution give the Courts a specific role or roles in the conduct of a war?

The Constitution does not explicitly, but the courts' review function gives them that role.

While Congress has the power "To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof," the courts, by their review function since Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), have the power of judicial review over such laws. Chief Justice Marshall declared in Marbury that "the judicial power of the United States" granted to it by Article III of the United States Constitution included the power of judicial review, that is the power to consider challenges to the constitutionality of a State or Federal law. Article III states that:

"The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution"

Therefore, while the authority to strike down laws is not specifically listed in the Constitution itself, it is an implicit authority derived from Article III, and from Article VI, which declares that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and that no state or Federal law may violate it:

"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding."

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan - you gave an excellent summary of various roles the Constitution gives Congress in the conduct of a war.

I merely quoted the exact words of the Consitution of the United States. It's amazing what people would find there if they actually bothered to read it....

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

The secret court will review the secret violations of FISA in secret so we'll never find out how often Bush has been listening in to DNC phone calls and viewing their emails.

Posted by: Brian Boru on July 14, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

I was just out watching "Easy Rider" at Brooklyn Bridge Park -- wonderful series, they screen movies outside every Thursday, with the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street rising majestically over the screen. There was a scene there that really struck me in which Jack Nicholson's lawyer character, George Hanson, explains to Dennis Hopper's biker Billy what he thinks has gone wrong with the US. Hanson's lament about how the very men who mouth the loudest platitudes about freedom are actually the ones who believe in it least summarizes quite well, I think, our rabid right-wing's mindset:

George Hanson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can't understand what's gone wrong with it.

Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that's what happened. Hey, we can't even get into like, a second-rate hotel, I mean, a second-rate motel, you dig? They think we're gonna cut their throat or somethin'. They're scared, man.

George Hanson: They're not scared of you. They're scared of what you represent to 'em.

Billy: Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut.

George Hanson: Oh, no. What you represent to them is freedom.

Billy: What the hell is wrong with freedom? That's what it's all about.

George Hanson: Oh, yeah, that's right. That's what's it's all about, all right. But talkin' about it and bein' it, that's two different things. I mean, it's real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em.

Billy: Well, it don't make 'em runnin' scared.

George Hanson: No, it makes 'em dangerous.

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

The secret court will review the secret violations of FISA in secret so we'll never find out how often Bush has been listening in to DNC phone calls and viewing their emails.
Posted by: Brian Boru on July 14, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, I don't know what harm this could do. It's not like the DNC has shown any inkling of spine or of having their shit together. I mean, really - the only thing Bush could possibly be learning by tapping the DNC is the truth about how totally emasculated and irrelevant the party is now.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on July 14, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

Thats sounds like a GREAT deal. Respect for the the Commander in Chief of the War on Terrorism means Americans should defer to him on what actions the American government needs to take to protect ourselves from the terrorists. If George W Bush in his considered judgment believes more wiretappings are necessary so that the terrorists don't attack us again as they did on 9/11, we should accept his judgment because he has classified information that we do not. One can not be free and dead at the same time. Giving Bush this power makes America more free because we have less chance of dying from the hands of the terrorists.

Shorter Al:

"The way I see it, unless we each conform, unless we obey orders, unless we follow our leaders blindly, there is no possible way we can remain free."
--Maj. Frank Burns

Posted by: Reprobate on July 14, 2006 at 2:37 AM | PERMALINK

Seriously, I don't know what harm this could do.

Seriously, are you serious? You don't mind having an executive branch that can perform warrantless wiretapping without accountability to anyone or anything, ever? Maybe you're right about the inefficacy of the DNC - hell, you are right - but that's no argument for giving the executive branch (and especially not the current occupant and his cronies) carte blanche when it comes to invading privacy.

Posted by: Irony Man on July 14, 2006 at 2:47 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Don't forget the larger point: Specter's plan would make the program fully legal. As opposed to its present, illegal status. Specter claims he is subjecting it to "judicial review," but that's a joke. Judicial review would involve oversight of each individual wiretap. Instead, the FISA court will get to review the whole program once. And assuming they rubber stamp it, it will be fully legal from then on out.

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Posted by: jimmy on July 14, 2006 at 3:03 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

Don't waste your time trying to give our conservative friends a lesson in Constitutional law - they don't get it. They see George W. Bush as a monarch, emperor or something other than a president subject to the checks and balances of the courts and Congress. The imperial presidency is a fiction of the conservative mind that needs to be nipped in the bud. Having Mr. Bush standing in the well of the Senate, facing Articles of Impeachment (which have already been drafted, by the way) might be a teachable moment for them.

Stephen Kriz

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on July 14, 2006 at 6:39 AM | PERMALINK

Conservatives are quite prepared to trust a Democratic President with this "quasi-dictatorial authority."

If you're willing to trust any President with "quasi-dictatorial authority," you are not a conservative. Or much of an American, for that matter.

Especially, when there is no evidence that such authority is being misused in any way.

The Founders presumed -- correctly, I might add -- that such authority would be misused. And, of course, "quasi-dictatorial authority" makes it all the less likely that evidence of abuse would be likely to surface. Moreover, the fact that Bush is admittedly violating the law is pretty much conclusive evidence that he is abusing the authority he has, forget the expanded powers this bill would give him.

Shame on you for your cowardly and unpatriotic longing for tyranny, Chicounsel. America hasn't needed or wanted a King for more than 200 years, and we don't need one now.

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

America hasn't needed or wanted a King for more than 200 years, and we don't need one now.

Oh, but these "Bush-as-dictator" apologists froth at the mouth at the prospect of such a thing. It's like some weird atavistic hiccup where something clicks inside their heads connecting George W with King George, and they don't even know why - it just seems "right" to them.

I have to admit though - posts like the one you responded to do give an insight to how dictatorships arise around the world with the support of sectors of the population. Some seem to believe that as long as the first dictator in the chain expresses ideology in line with theirs, then hey, how bad could it be? And what could go wrong? Corruption and abuse of power - that can't happen here, can it?

Posted by: Irony Man on July 14, 2006 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

Chicounsel: Conservatives are quite prepared to trust a Democratic President with this "quasi-dictatorial authority."

Yeah, just look at how much they trusted and respected President Clinton....

Gregory: If you're willing to trust any President with "quasi-dictatorial authority," you are not a conservative. Or much of an American, for that matter.

I'll have to disagree. If the last few years have demonstrated anything, it's that the hallmark of a conservative is indeed their longing for a quasi-dictatorial state.

As to they're not being much of an American, though, you're spot on.

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder where Specter does all his "tough" negotiating? Which Beltway rest-stop? Which stall?

Posted by: sglover on July 14, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

I'll have to disagree. If the last few years have demonstrated anything, it's that the hallmark of a conservative is indeed their longing for a quasi-dictatorial state.

With respect, Stefan, I disagree. True, the Bush Cultists tend to self-identify as "conservatives," but while American conservatism has long tended to be more authoritarian, it was characterized by a distrust of too much government power (after all, "smaller government" used to be a conservative rallying cry).

Substitute "Republican" for "conservative" in your comment, though, and I'd agree totally.

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Giving Bush this power makes America more free because we have less chance of dying from the hands of the terrorists.
Posted by: Al

Careful, Al, they may be listening in on your late-night phone sex calls. Will you feel the same when a democrat is President? I didn't think so.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on July 14, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I don't have a problem with expanding the warrant request window, although the current 72 hours is more than enough time. But why bother submitting a bill that only suggests the executive office do something?

These same Republicans (and trolls) will scream bloody murder when President Hillary uses these powers in 2009.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on July 14, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

With respect, Stefan, I disagree. True, the Bush Cultists tend to self-identify as "conservatives," but while American conservatism has long tended to be more authoritarian, it was characterized by a distrust of too much government power (after all, "smaller government" used to be a conservative rallying cry).

With respect, Gregory, I disagree with your disagreement. (Darling, our first fight!). What is thought of as traditional American conservative distrust of too much government power was, in my opinion, merely a figleaf to cover the conservatives' desire to prevent the government from regulating their abuses.

Conservatives claimed they didn't trust "big government," but what they really didn't like was the federal government enforcing civil liberties, workplace protections, voting rights, etc. It wasn't the fact that the government was "big," it was the fact that the government wouldn't let them do what they wanted to the blacks and the Indians and the immigrants and the child laborers and the women that they objected to. Now that they are the ones nominally in charge of oversight, their distrust of big government has somehow magically melted away.

Conservatism has always historically been on the side of power and oppression, though it has taken many forms to achieve that same end (monarchical absolutism in 18th and 19th century Europe, "small-government" conservatism in 18th and 19th century America, caudillismo in Latin America, etc.).

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

These same Republicans (and trolls) will scream bloody murder when President Hillary uses these powers in 2009.

Yes, but Bush's signing statement will provide that the powers granted to the executive will expire in January 2009.

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Let's just crown the motherf#cker king and get it over with.

Posted by: Neo on July 14, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Don't waste your time trying to give our conservative friends a lesson in Constitutional law - they don't get it.

How odd -- during the trumped-up impeachment in the 1990s they all seemed to be learned experts on the majesty of the Constitution and the rule of law....

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan,

Well, this part is simple:

Now that they are the ones nominally in charge of oversight, their distrust of big government has somehow magically melted away.

As P.J. O'Rourke said, Republicans claim government doesn't work, then get elected and prove it. :)

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

How odd -- during the trumped-up impeachment in the 1990s they all seemed to be learned experts on the majesty of the Constitution and the rule of law

More ironic still are their claims at the time that the President isn't above the law...

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Democrats throw money at problems.

Republicans throw away American lives and take away our freedoms to solve problems.

Posted by: nut on July 14, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

the courts, by their review function since Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), have the power of judicial review over such laws. Chief Justice Marshall declared in Marbury that "the judicial power of the United States" granted to it by Article III of the United States Constitution included the power of judicial review...

Right again, Stefan. The Courts have given themselves the power of judicial review. (which is OK with me. They've done a lot of good things with this power.)

My point is, in prior wars the Courts did not give themselves the power to second-guess the Commander in Chief. The Hamden decision was a pretty much without precedent. In past wars, Courts let the CiC make POW decisions.

In my opinion, Hamden is bad law, bad policy, and bad morals. However, we will have to learn to live with it as best we can.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 14, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

My point is, in prior wars the Courts did not give themselves the power to second-guess the Commander in Chief.

They don't need to "give themselves the power." Read it again: The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution

The Hamden decision was a pretty much without precedent. In past wars, Courts let the CiC make POW decisions.

Well, leaving aside the fact that under the Constitution, it's Congress that sets the rules, there's Ex parte Quirin (1942). Smarter trolls, please.

In my opinion, Hamden is bad law

With every post, you demonstrate what your opinion is worth -- of value only to organic farmers.

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

My point is, in prior wars the Courts did not give themselves the power to second-guess the Commander in Chief.

They don't "give themselves the power" -- they have the power under our constitutional system of government.

Moroever, the president's function as "commander-in-chief" means only that he's commander in chief over the armed forces, that is, the civilian authority controls the military. It's to prevent a general from seizing power during war.

In past wars, Courts let the CiC make POW decisions.

In past wars, the executive's POW decisions didn't violate the law.

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK
The Courts have given themselves the power of judicial review.

The power of judicial review is simply the basic judicial function of interpretation to resolve controversies of law combined with the express priority of the Constitution over federal law, and Constitutional federal law over conflicting state law.

The Court didn't give itself any power.

The Hamden decision was a pretty much without precedent.

I don't know, it seems to cite quite a bit of precedent.

In past wars, Courts let the CiC make POW decisions.

No, in past wars, when challenges were made to how the President applied the executive power against prisoners in time of war, those acts were, for the most part, found to comport with the law applicable at the time. The courts have not, in the past, held that such determinations of law are categorically outside their power, only that the President, in those prior cases, had not broken the law applicable at the time (which, incidentally, was not generally the same as the law applicable now, as the 1949 Geneva Conventions were not applicable to most of those previous challenges.)

Posted by: cmdicely on July 14, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Does anything in the way of backtracking and double-talking from Spec the Squish surprise anybody?

Ex-liberal: Were you ever that much of a liberal in the first place?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on July 14, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

In past wars, the executive's POW decisions didn't violate the law.

Stefan - in past wars, the executive's POW decisions would have blatently violated Hamden. Fortunately, past Justices didn't have the foolish arrogance of today's Supreme Court.

E.g., AFAIK in past wars no hearings were given to POWs, even though one would assume that innocent people were mistakenly held as POWs during WW2, WW1, Vietnam, Korea, etc. No court ordered that they be given trials.

During past wars, we restricted the Geneva Convention as it was intended - to soldiers in uniform fighting for states that were mutually applying the Geneve Conventions.

As we all know, the Courts even upheld FDR's concentration camps for Japanese-
Americans, with no hearings available. Obviousy Hamden would have applied in that case.

BTW what I most dislike about Hamden is its irresponsibility. Here's what I mean. War is horrible. It involves actions that would be unthinkable in peace time -- killing and maiming people, destroying proerty, etc. -- all without warrant, judicial review, specific legislation, or any other normal peacetime civil liberties protection. In peacetime, it takes decades of trials and appeals to execute one murderer. In war, a young officer can kill thousands immediately, without consulting anyone.

IN Hamden, the Court looked at one tiny aspect of war -- these 600 prisoners at Gitmo. The Supreme Court made a decision divorced from the overall war. They had no way to evaluate how their decision would affect the overall war. That's why Handen was irresponsible, in my opinion.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 14, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan - in past wars, the executive's POW decisions would have blatently violated Hamden.

In past wars, the Executive's POW decisions were explicitly empowered by Congress; Hamden noted, correctly, that such is not the case today.

Fortunately, past Justices didn't have the foolish arrogance of today's Supreme Court.

"Foolish arrogance" more accurately characterizes an Executive that usurps power not granted it than a Supreme Court that notes the fact.

one would assume that innocent people were mistakenly held as POWs during WW2, WW1, Vietnam, Korea

Except for Vietnam -- and sometimes even then -- our opponents were almost entirely uniformed soldiers, so one would be foolish to assume so.

Oh, wait -- it's "ex-liberal," so foolishness is to be expected.

During past wars, we restricted the Geneva Convention as it was intended - to soldiers in uniform fighting for states that were mutually applying the Geneve Conventions.

The Geneva Convention explicitly outlines the treatment of irregular combatants and civilians, not just soldiers, and so is not restricted to soldiers in uniform. Nor is adherence by the enemy to the Conventions a prerequisite -- merely being a signatory.

As we all know, the Courts even upheld FDR's concentration camps for Japanese-
Americans, with no hearings available. Obviousy Hamden would have applied in that case.

Since FDR's power to do so was granted by Congress, Hamden would obviusly not apply in that case.

IN Hamden, the Court looked at one tiny aspect of war -- these 600 prisoners at Gitmo.

Since that was the case's mandate, to do otherwise would have been an improper usurpation of power. Oh, but I forgot -- you approve of those, at least by the President.

The Supreme Court made a decision divorced from the overall war. They had no way to evaluate how their decision would affect the overall war.

Leaving aside the fact that the Court has no obligation to allow an unconstitutional usurpation by the Executive on grounds of wartime -- indeed, it has an duty to act to prevent such -- and the fact that Bush's own incompetent policies are to blame for the case being before the Court in the first place, there's no evidence whatsoever that Hamden affects anything but the President's unchecked ability to usurp power not Constitutionally granted. Indeed, the top JAGs uniformly advised against the President's policy and maintain that changing it presents no hindrance at all to the so-called war on terror.

That's why Handen was irresponsible, in my opinion.

You continue to demonstrate how little value your opinion holds.

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

I was gonna jump in, but Gregory did an admirable job thrashing ex-liberals half-baked lies and delusions. Well done, sir.

I will add one thing, though, the claim that E.g., AFAIK in past wars no hearings were given to POWs,

Yes, they were. My grandfather, a German officer, was given one when he was captured by American soldiers at the end of the war. He was wearing civilian clothes that he had stolen (he had a few days earlier been captured by the Russians who stripped him naked and were about to shoot him when he escaped during a counter-attack) but American forces who later caught him at a roadblock suspected he was a soldier. He was held and given a hearing on his POW status (which he lost, of course).

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

During past wars, we restricted the Geneva Convention as it was intended - to soldiers in uniform fighting for states that were mutually applying the Geneve Conventions.

As Gregory and I have both pointed out numerous times before, the Geneva Conventions apply to any combatants, whether uniformed or not, and whether fighting for a state or fighting as partisans and guerillas. If you disagree, show us a cite, and not just your "opinion."

In Vietnam, for example, official policy was to apply the Geneva Conventions to Viet Cong we captured, even though they were not soldiers in uniform, and even though North Vietnam did not extend our own captured soldiers and airmen the same protection.

See, e.g., LAW AT WAR: VIETNAM 1964-1973 by
Major General George S. Prugh, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, Washington, D.C., 1975

"As indigenous offenders, the Viet Cong did not technically merit prisoner of war status, although they were entitled to humane treatment under Article 3, Geneva Prisoner of War Conventions....Although North Vietnam made a strong argument that the conflict in Vietnam was essentially an internal domestic struggle, the official position of the United States, stated as early as 1965, and repeated consistently thereafter, was that the hostilities constituted an armed international conflict, that North Vietnam was a belligerent, that the Viet Cong were agents of the government of North Vietnam, and that the Geneva Conventions applied in full."

Posted by: Stefan on July 14, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal: Were you ever that much of a liberal in the first place?

"Ex-liberal," "former liberal," "once a liberal" and the like are easily translated as "hopelessly conservative goof who thinks his partisan blathering will carry more weight if he pretends he's a sadder but wiser former member of our tribe."

No, they didn't leave the party, no, sir. The party was never aware of their fictional presence in it.

Posted by: shortstop on July 14, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

In past wars, the Executive's POW decisions were explicitly empowered by Congress; Hamden noted, correctly, that such is not the case today.

Gregory - Do you know what "explicitly" means in this context? Surely Congress didn't pass laws stating where POW camps would be, how prisoners would be treated, what they'd be fed, etc. Perhaps in their declarations of war, Congress explicitly stated that the CiC could make POW decisions as he wished, although I don't remember such terms. Maybe Congress passed POW laws separate from their declarations of war.

Except for Vietnam -- and sometimes even then -- our opponents were almost entirely uniformed soldiers, so one would be foolish to assume [that innocent people were mistakenly held as POWs].

Gregory, I'm glad that we agree that the Supreme Court went farther in Hamden than they did when innocent people were mistakenly held as POWs in Vietnam.

Actually, the problem was greater in Vietnam, since there were so many more prisoners than are in Gitmo. IMHO, if there had been tens of thousands of prisoners in Gitmo, the Hamden decision would have gone the other way. The Court would have realized the impracticality of offering lengthy formal hearings to so many.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 14, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK
Stefan - in past wars, the executive's POW decisions would have blatently violated Hamden.

As Hamdan was based on law not in place in many past wars—among other things, the 1949 Geneva Conventions—even if that was true (for which you have provided no evidence), it wouldn't really be meaningful.

E.g., AFAIK in past wars no hearings were given to POWs, even though one would assume that innocent people were mistakenly held as POWs during WW2, WW1, Vietnam, Korea, etc. No court ordered that they be given trials.

I think you are confusing Hamdan with another case, perhaps Rasul here; Hamdan doesn't require "hearings" or "trials" for POWs, it prohibits certain trial procedures (specifically, the military commissions under the rules Bush has prescribed) for military detainees.

It is Rasul which allowed federal courts to here habeas corpus challenges to detentions of supposed enemy combatants who challenged that designation.

During past wars, we restricted the Geneva Convention as it was intended - to soldiers in uniform fighting for states that were mutually applying the Geneve Conventions.

Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, among other provisions, is expressly not limited in that or any similar way in its application.

As we all know, the Courts even upheld FDR's concentration camps for Japanese- Americans, with no hearings available. Obviousy Hamden would have applied in that case.

Actually, no, its quite clear that, unless FDR asserted the right to try people there by military commissions, Hamdan would have no applicability at all there. You clearly are not even familiar with the legal question at issue in Hamdan, much less the result or the reasoning.

BTW what I most dislike about Hamden is its irresponsibility.

How would you know? You clearly don't even know what question the Court addressed in Hamdan, how it answered that question, or what the basis for that answer was. How can you have anything remotely approaching a meaningful opinion on whether it was "irresponsible"?

Posted by: cmdicely on July 14, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK
Gregory, I'm glad that we agree that the Supreme Court went farther in Hamden than they did when innocent people were mistakenly held as POWs in Vietnam.

Hamdan has nothing to do with people who are (or assert they are) mistakenly held as POWs.

There are two main legal questions at issue in Hamdan, and neither one involves mistaken identity of a detainee as a person subject to detention as a POW.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 14, 2006 at 1:19 PM | PERMALINK

What troops again does the left support?

The Left (presuming to speak for that hydra) supports the troops whose use is required to pursue necessary national goals.

Why do you ask?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 14, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Do you know what "explicitly" means in this context?

Of course. Apparetnly, though, you don't.

Surely Congress didn't pass laws stating where POW camps would be, how prisoners would be treated, what they'd be fed, etc.

Of course not, but here we can see your confusion about "explicitly empowered."

Perhaps in their declarations of war, Congress explicitly stated that the CiC could make POW decisions as he wished, although I don't remember such terms.

Your ignorance is noted -- oh, heck, it's obvious -- and I'd resist the fatuous term "as he wished," but yes, according to its Constitutional function, Congress can pass -- in its declaration of war or elsewhere -- laws empowering the President to make the appropriate decisions regarding POWs.

Of course, in the AUMF, the Congress did not do so, as the Court rightly noted.

Moreover, of course, having ratified the Geneva Conventions, the Senate had already made them the law of the land, compliance with which is not optional. The court was quite right to rule as such on this issue as well.

cmdicely ably dealdisposed of with your "innocent people" straw man, as well as much of your other bullshit. And Stefan, thanks.

Finaly, "ex-liberal," the inconvenience to the Executive in complying with the law is not and ought not to be a consideration when the court considers the President's actions. Regardless of the number of prisoners in Gitmo, any detriment to US security as a result of the court's decision would be the fault of the President's illegal actions. Shame on you for suggesting the Court ought to abandon its Constitutional duty of oversight to avoid inconveniencing the President when he claims a national security purpose.

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, you are right. I guess it was an earllier decision that required hearings for Gitmo prisoner; Hamden then defined more preciely the nature of the hearing.

The irresponsible aspect of both decisions is that the most powerful player was focused on so samll an issue. The Supreme Couur has the final say over generals, Congresws, and the President. The Court can order prisoners to be released; they can order the withdrawal of troops. Any decision of theirs must be obeyed. Yet, the SC didn't consider how their decisions would affect the overall war. That's not their job.

I believe the SC assumed that their meddling would have no significant effect on the overall WoT. It probably won't, since so few people are involved. However, these decision will be binding in future wars, when they may be more costly.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 14, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory - I really would like to know what "explicitly" meant in this context. I was hoping you could educate me.

I agree with you that Congress can pass -- in its declaration of war or elsewhere -- laws empowering the President to make the appropriate decisions regarding POWs. The question is, did they actually do so in past wars? In all past wars?

Basically, I think Bush has taken no more power than typical past wartime Presidents. If I'm wrong, can you supply examples?

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 14, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

The irresponsible aspect of both decisions is that the most powerful player was focused on so samll an issue.

The issue of the President obeying the law and the Constitution is not a small issue.

Yet, the SC didn't consider how their decisions would affect the overall war. That's not their job.

Exactly. According to the Constitution, it's the job of the Congress and the President. Of course, it's also the President's job to ensure that laws be faithfully executed, so again, if the Court rules against the President, the fault lies with the President, not the courts.

I believe the SC assumed that their meddling would have no significant effect on the overall WoT.

First of all, the SCOTUS was not "meddling," it was exercising its Constitutional oversight function. Second of all, if they did assume as you speculate they did, they had good reason to -- again, eight JAGs just testified that they advised against this policy and asserted that the UCMJ is a better model. Finally, even if they assumed their decision would have significant effect on the overall WoT, it is their duty to check the President's illegal usupration of power, and if that's a problem, the fault lies with the President.

How dare you presume the Court should defer to the President's convenience, war or no war. We have a President, not a king. I really have to ask now, "ex-liberal" -- why do you hate America?

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I really would like to know what "explicitly" meant in this context. I was hoping you could educate me.

Since you keep spewing counterfactuals, and persist in your bizarre belief that we have a King and not a President -- not to mention your abundant record of dishonesty -- I don't think you're educatable.

Basically, I think Bush has taken no more power than typical past wartime Presidents.

That's the problem, "ex-liberal" -- the President is not allowed under the Constitution to take this power. It must be given to him by Congress. Congress did not do so. (By the by, regarding wiretapping, Congress considered and rejected giving him that power explicitly in the AUMF.)

Therefore the Supreme Court was quite correct in its ruling that the President's actions were illegal.

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK
cmdicely, you are right. I guess it was an earllier decision that required hearings for Gitmo prisoner; Hamden then defined more preciely the nature of the hearing.

Nope, Hamdan didn't do that. The trial by military commission that Hamdan ruled illegal is a system for trying detainees for alleged crimes against the laws of war, not the hearing by a competent tribunal required under the Geneva Conventions to determine whether a prisoner sought to be treated as other than a protected POW is subject to PoW protections, nor the habeas corpus review allowed in federal courts under Rasul, nor the "meaningful opportunity" for a citizen to contest the factual basis for detention required by Hamdi.

You really ought to learn something about Hamdan before criticizing it.

The irresponsible aspect of both decisions is that the most powerful player was focused on so samll an issue.

Again, your criticism of what is "irresponsible" carries little wait when you still clearly don't know what the case was about or what it held.

The Supreme Couur has the final say over generals, Congresws, and the President. The

As to what the law allows? Sure.

The Court can order prisoners to be released; they can order the withdrawal of troops.

The former is certain, the latter is, well, at least not demonstrated.

Any decision of theirs must be obeyed.

Perhaps in theory. Certainly not as a matter of fact, as history has vividly demonstrated.

Yet, the SC didn't consider how their decisions would affect the overall war.

As you failed to correctly identify the subject matter or result of the decision, I certainly don't give much weight to what you say about what they considered to get to that decision. But if you think you have identified some problem with how Hamdan will effect the conduct of war, either this war or future wars, please let us know. Though, of course, this will probably take you figuring out what Hamdan actually was about, and what it actually held...

Posted by: cmdicely on July 14, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK
Gregory - I really would like to know what "explicitly" meant in this context.

If you want to understand Congress' authorization of military commissions in past cases, and how it conflicts with the situation in Hamdan, what you ought to do is:
1) Read Hamdan,
2) Read some of the past cases the court refers to in Hamdan, like Quirin and Yamashita.

Its pretty clear you haven't done either of those.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 14, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

The issue of the President obeying the law and the Constitution is not a small issue.

Gregory, the President is obeying the SC. It's not the case that Bush flouted the law or the Constitution. Note that Hamden was effectively a 5 to 4 decision. Until this decision came down, nobody knew what it would be. The President should not be criticized for believing he had powers that 4 SC Justices say he had.

So, the question isn't whether the Presdent obeys the Constitution, but rather the meat of the various decisions: whether POWs get trials, and if so, what kind of trials. POW hearings are a small issue compared with the thousands of people killed in the WoT and much smaller than whether or not the west ultimately prevails over Islamic fundamentalism.

Sadly, some people focus obsessively on US faults (or Bush faults) while glossing over much worse faults. Take the NY Times coverage of Abu Graib (please!) They wrote around 40 front page articles about US atrocities. but they gave little coverage to Saddam's atrocities at Abu Graib, which were a thousand times worse. Thousands of men women and children were tortured to death there by primitive means. In the Times' world, Bush gets no credit for ending Saddam's on-going brutality.

I really would like to know what "explicitly" meant in this context. I was hoping you could educate me.

Since you keep spewing counterfactuals, and persist in your bizarre belief that we have a King and not a President -- not to mention your abundant record of dishonesty -- I don't think you're educatable.

So, you don't know the answer, either?

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 14, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK
So, the question isn't whether the Presdent obeys the Constitution, but rather the meat of the various decisions: whether POWs get trials, and if so, what kind of trials.

Whether POWs, as a class, get "trials" was not an issue in any case of which I am aware.

Which case do you think speaks to that issue?

POW hearings are a small issue compared with the thousands of people killed in the WoT and much smaller than whether or not the west ultimately prevails over Islamic fundamentalism.

Whether the concept of government limited by established law rather than the convenience of the executive at the moment survives is actually, I would say, a bigger issue than the present struggle against a handful of Islamic radicals.


Sadly, some people focus obsessively on US faults (or Bush faults) while glossing over much worse faults.

So, you're down to just repeating to the tired old "anti-American" and "Bush-hater" memes, having been soundly thrashed on the substance of your complaints?

Posted by: cmdicely on July 14, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Whether POWs, as a class, get "trials" was not an issue in any case of which I am aware. Which case do you think speaks to that issue?

cmdicely: Until a Court holding around a year ago, trials or hearings for Gitmo prioners were considered optional by the Bush administration. I've forgotten the name of the case, but a 5/15/06 Newsday article begins, "One year ago, the Supreme Court told the Bush administration that in America, even detainees swept up in the war on terror and held at the military's Guantanamo Bay prison camp were entitled to a day in court to contest their imprisonment." Whether POWs, as a class, get "trials" was not an issue in any case of which I am aware.

Whether the concept of government limited by established law rather than the convenience of the executive at the moment survives is actually, I would say, a bigger issue than the present struggle against a handful of Islamic radicals.

As I said, there's no issue of whether government is limited by law. Prior to various SC decision, Bush followed a reasonable interpretation of law. When the SC disagreed with some aspects, Bush changed his policy in accord with the SC. Given the closeness of the decisions, one cannot assert that Bush ought to have foreseen which way the cases would go.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 14, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'll keep this short.

the President is obeying the SC.

That remains to be seen.

It's not the case that Bush flouted the law or the Constitution.

According to the Supreme Court (not to mention the eight JA nd any honest observers, yourself excluded), yes, it is the case.

you don't know the answer, either?

No. I do. But as I said, and you continue to demonstrate, you are not educatable.

Posted by: Gregory on July 14, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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