Friday, August 18, 2006

Warrantless "Catch 22" Caught

"Catch 22" has worked for the Bush administration before, like when the Justice Department aborted inquiry into its own lawyers' role in the warrantless wiretaps because investigators could not obtain a security clearance from the Bush administration! ("How U.S. Citizens Were Cooked")

So Bush's National Security Administration (NSA) and Attorney General Gonzales figured it would work for them again in federal court on the latest challenge to the warrantless wiretap program. (Washington Post)

The Bush administration "Catch 22" argument this time was "state secrets".... since the plaintiffs needed state secret privilege to prove their case, and the government can't defend the case without revealing state secrets, the case can't go forward. They thought it was a perfect "Catch 22," .... a condition preventing the resolution of a situation.

But they didn't figure on Federal Judge Anna Diggs Taylor.

She concentrated on the process not the secrets.

In her ruling she points out that "Congress made numerous concessions to stated executive needs....delaying the application for warrants until after surveillance has begun.... reducing probable cause requirement.... extension of approved wiretaps from thirty days to a ninety day term."

Judge Taylor reminded our King George that "Our Constitution was drafted by founders and ratified by a people who still held in vivid memory the image of King George III and his General Warrants.... the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution."

Taylor ordered a halt to the secret wiretap program authorized by President Bush in 2001 (the halt now delayed until a September 7 hearing) finding the warrantless wiretap program unconstitutional, .... violating the Constitution's First Amendment (freedom of speech) and the Fourth Amendment (privacy, undue searches), the Separation of Powers doctrine and "the statutory law."

That's right George, regardless of what VP Cheney and your minions think, there is no Imperial Presidency. The "war on terror" doesn't give you unfettered power.

Judge Taylor's final paragraph in her ruling was taken from a Justice Earl Warren decision:
"Implicit in the term 'national defense' is the notion of defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart.... It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of.... those liberties.... which makes the defense of the Nation worthwhile."

Or, as Judge Taylor stated simply in her ruling, "It is the upholding of our Constitution."


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