Carol Platt Liebau: Right On

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Right On

Rivkin & Casey have provided an incredibly clear and thorough explanations of the President's warrantless surveillance policy. It's a must-read.

6 Comments:

Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Don't be distracted by the shiny baubles put forward by Carol in an attempt to confuse the issue.

President George W. Bush has decided he does not need to obey the duly enacted laws of the United States. You either agree with the administration's claims that a President has unfettered executive power or you don't.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I read excellent coverage of this issue all over the web last week. I watched MSM news coverage over the holiday weekend and saw zero excellent coverage.

As best as I can tell, Bush was well within his legal rights as Chief Executive. His authority is Constitutional and is therefore protected from any attempts at limitation from the Judicial and Legislative branches of government.

That made Tom Dashcel's "We didn't authorize this" column more than laughable. It's pathetic!

Mr. Twister, there is no duly enacted law that limits the President's Constitutional authority. Neither can there be. Once again, you find yourself on the wrong side of the argument. doesn't that get discouraging?

For purely domestic political reasons, the Democrats once again have placed themselves in the position of favoring enemy combatants over the safety of the American public. I wonder if a viable Democratic Party will even exist 50 years from now.

6:15 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

A challenge to Mr. Twister:

Name a duly enacted law that President Bush has broken or ignored by using warrentless wire taps to monitor Al Queida communications.

Name a case in which the courts ruled in a manner that would limit the President's power to intercept communications between enemy combatants during war.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Greg wrote, "I read excellent coverage of this issue all over the web last week. I watched MSM news coverage over the holiday weekend and saw zero excellent coverage."

That would mean something if Greg hadn't already redefined "excellent" to mean "that which agrees with Greg's preformed opinion."

5:19 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Greg wrote, " A challenge to Mr. Twister:"

Cool, I love challenges. Let's go.

"Name a duly enacted law that President Bush has broken or ignored by using warrentless wire taps to monitor Al Queida communications."

That's a tough one Gregster--I think I'm going to have to phone a friend. Let me give Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a call. AG Gonzales would you care to comment?

"Now, in terms of legal authorities, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act provides -- requires a court order before engaging in this kind of surveillance that I've just discussed and the President announced on Saturday," said AG Gonzales in his Dec. 19 Press Briefing.

Thanks, Al. According to the Attorney General, FISA "requires a court order before engaging in this kind of surveillance." The president authorized such surveillance without the required court order in contravention of the FISA, which (like it or not) is a duly enacted law of the land. I believe that answers challenge number one.

This of course, brings us to Greg's implied point that FISA is unconstitutional as it interferes with a President's "inherent authority" as Commander in Chief or somesuch. (That is, in fact what Alberto Gonzales argues in the continuation of the quote above.) To answer that, let's turn to Greg's second challenge.

"Name a case in which the courts ruled in a manner that would limit the President's power to intercept communications between enemy combatants during war."

The problem here is that Greg is shifting the argument. The argument I have made is not, nor has it ever been, about intercepting communications. My argument(the one that Greg and other conservatives have repeatedly ignored) has always been that the President has no inherent right, even when acting as Commander in Chief, to ignore the duly constituted laws of the land.

My argument echoes the finding of the the Supreme Court in Quirin v. Cox. The Quirin court found that "The Constitution thus invests the President as Commander in Chief with the power to wage war which Congress has declared, and to carry into effect all laws passed by Congress for the conduct of war and for the government and regulation of the Armed Forces, and all laws defining and punishing offences against the law of nations, including those which pertain to the conduct of war." In other words, even when acting as Commander in Chief, the President doesn't get to make up his own law, he can merely carry out the laws that Congress has enacted.

I can also point you to Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co v. Sherman, which is another case directly on point. In that case Justice Frankfurter, concurring with the majority, wrote "It is one thing to draw an intention of Congress from general language and to say that Congress would have explicitly written what is inferred, where Congress has not addressed itself to a specific situation. It is quite impossible, however, when Congress did specifically address itself to a problem, as Congress did to that of seizure, to find secreted in the interstices of legislation the very grant of power which Congress consciously withheld. To find authority so explicitly withheld is not merely to disregard in a particular instance the clear will of Congress. It is to disrespect the whole legislative process and the constitutional division of authority between President and Congress."

In the case of FISA, the Congress "explicitly withheld" the authority the President is claiming. Instead Congress set forth a framework which required a Court order before beginning surveillance, and this framework was signed into law. President Bush does not get to choose to pick and choose what laws he wants to obey.

So Greg, I return a challenge to you. In all of the "excellent coverage of this issue" you found "all over the web last week", explain how they handled the findings in Quirin and Youngstown. Find me one case where the Supreme Court held that the President has the authority to pick and choose which laws he wants to obey and which laws he can ignore.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Mr. Twister said...

Greg concluded, "For purely domestic political reasons, the Democrats once again have placed themselves in the position of favoring enemy combatants over the safety of the American public."

A Brief History of Conservative Thought:

1960's Conservative: "A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away."--Barry Goldwater

1980's Conservative: "Concentrated power has always been the enemy of liberty." -- Ronald Reagan

2000's Conservative: "I'm OK with the President wiretapping anybody's phone without a warrant or throwing somebody in solitary confinement for three years without charging them with anything; if you're not guilty of something you don't have anything to worry about." -- Joe Wingnut

6:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Google