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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Audacity Of Arrogance That Knows No Bounds

Good evening one and all. I am sitting here in my hotel room, trying to stay awake while watching the floor debate in the Senate over the Patriot Act's renewal. (Right now, Sen. Frist is rambling on and on), and I was taken to my computer. Hugh Hewitt placed up a post regarding the questioning upcoming of Judge Alito. In this story I read that Senators Specter and Leahy intend on asking him about the president's powers regarding the NSA story.

As I said, arrogance knowns no bounds.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Senators Specter and Leahy both intend to ask Alito about the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's monitoring of communications between people in the United States and those overseas without a court order. (Link via: In my view Alito should (and almost certainly will) refrain from answering sucha question in any detail. But if he wants a crib sheet, this analysis by Orin Kerr is well-reasoned and fairly comprehensive.



And for this, I will take a page from Marcie in how this repugnant article is replied to. Virtually, a point-by-point refutation is in order.

Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr. was warned yesterday by two key senators that he will be expected to comment on the revelation that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to monitor the international phone calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens without seeking a court order.

I would urge Judge Alito to refrain from replying to this question under any circumstances. As this is becoming as hotly contested as it appears to be, this could wind up in the high court's hall. And Judge Alito might already be there. In answering questions directly concerning this issue could be a violation of Canon 5 of the legal ethics; that being tipping one's hat in favor or against a particular issue, especially one concerning Constitutional powers.

In separate letters to Judge Alito, Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., its ranking Democrat, told the nominee to expect questions about the surveillance program, which Mr. Leahy said "is but one of several areas where the court's role as a check on overreaching by the executive may soon prove crucial."

Precisely speaking, see above. Judge Alito can't answer a question like this. He's not applying for a job at the New York Times. He is being considered for the United States Supreme Court, where such Constitutional questions will undoubtedly land in his lap.

In his letter, Mr. Specter stopped short of asking Judge Alito if Mr. Bush violated the Constitution by authorizing surveillance of persons thought to have ties to al-Qaida without obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

But the Pennsylvania Republican said he might ask Judge Alito what "jurisprudential approach" the nominee would employ in deciding whether Mr. Bush could legally order warrantless surveillance by virtue of his constitutional power as commander-in-chief or under a Sept. 14, 2001, congressional resolution authorizing "all necessary and appropriate force" against terrorists.

If I may answer for the nominee, in as clear and concise an answer as possible, the congressional act gave him the power. It activated powers that the president only possesses when this country is at war, hostile, in "aggressive negotiations," or whatever they'd like to term it as. The president, as always, is "Commander in Chief" of our armed forces, as dictated by Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution. When we activate the military in any hostile action, the president's powers expand, as my partners have pointed out on more than one occasion. Does the president have the power to conduct warrantless searches, legally, under the auspice and guidelines of his powers outlined in the Constitution? Absolutely.

Mr. Specter's most pointed questions -- and thus the ones Judge Alito might be most reluctant to answer -- concern Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, a decision by the Supreme Court last year holding that U.S. citizens held as "enemy combatants" had a right to challenge their detention in court.

Again, there should be no answer to this question. Hamdi is still a relevent case, and could be revisited by the Supreme Court soon. It would be improper to comment on any aspect of that case right now, especially during the duration of this war, and while cases like it are still being appealed to the court.

Mr. Specter asked Judge Alito if he agreed with an opinion by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in that case that "war is not a blank check for the president."

Mr. Specter then asked: "In light of Justice O'Connor's statement, what jurisprudential theory would you invoke to evaluate the limits on the president's authority to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizens? . . . Pursuant to the Supreme Court's rationale in Hamdi, would it be permissible for the president to engage in electronic surveillance or other means to protect national security without further congressional action?"

Either Specter is playing to the gallery, or this man is truly this stupid. The president's powers during wartime--unless it is construed as an egregious act--are unlimited in the defense of the nation, and the prosecution of the war.

In all, Mr. Specter posed 12 questions to Judge Alito, several of them designed to explore the nominee's views on the relationship between congressional and executive power in wartime. Article I of the Constitution gives Congress the power to "declare war," but Article II makes the president "commander-in-chief."

And under the AUMF, Congress gave it's assent to going to war. Aside from another resolution declaring an end to those hostilities, or legislation cutting off the funding for the mission, they have no other recourse against the president's powers. That is, unless as I pointed out above, the president commits an egregious act, such as authorizing the use of torture which is forbidden by US law, and the Geneva Convention.

Mr. Specter asked Judge Alito if Congress unconstitutionally delegated its power to declare war to Mr. Bush when it voted in 2002 to authorize future military action against Iraq.

I guess he truly is this stupid. No, it didn't "unconstitutionally" delgate it's power to declare war to the president when it voted in favor of going into Iraq next. As a matter of fact, they had a piece of legislation from 1998 that authorized the removal of Saddam Hussein, but never fulfilled it. Or, I should say that the president never fulfilled it. But in regard to his question, the vote to authorize military action in Iraq is technically--in the eyes of the law--a declaration of war; a power reserved solely to Congress.

Some of Mr. Specter's questions will require Judge Alito to brush up on his history. For example, the senator asked the nominee whether the Korean and Vietnam wars "should have, as a matter of constitutional law, required a declaration of war by Congress."

Yesterday's letter was the third in which Mr. Specter has provided Judge Alito with what he called "advance notice of some lines of inquiry I may follow at your confirmation hearing," which begins Jan. 9. Previously he asked the nominee about his views of precedent, the rights of criminal defendants and the scope of freedom of religion under the First Amendment.

Stare decisis? He has answered that in the matter of Roe; it's "settled law." The rights of criminal defendants is outlined in the Fifth Amendment. I suggest Sen. Specter brush up on history. And the "scope" or religion under the First Amendment could not be clearer; religion may have no say in government, and government may have no say in religion, nor may the government endorse (read: promote) a "state-run" religion as England has.

Sens. Specter and Leahy weren't the only ones to link the Bush surveillance program and the Alito nomination. The leader of a liberal group that has criticized the nomination said yesterday that if confirmed, Judge Alito likely would uphold such surveillance.

That "leader of a liberal group" is a genius. Judge Alito should uphold that power of the president. No act may countermand his authority as the Constitution enumerates.

"Judge Alito's statements, speeches and judicial record taken together establish that he supports an extremely broad interpretation of the president's powers under the Constitution, and of the powers of executive branch law enforcement officers," said Ralph Neas, president of People for the American Way.

Mr. Neas, the president's powers during wartime are braod. They're intended to be that way, as the Framers expected them to be, because he is the commander of all military forces, and they prosecute the war his way, as he sees fit. You can disagree with it, but you can't curtail it unless you convince Congress to intervene and remove the funding.

"It is hardly a surprise that a president who has repeatedly claimed unprecedented power would nominate an individual with these pro-executive views to the court that has the last word on presidential authority and on the Fourth Amendment."

Fool. The power is not unprecedented. It's the same power wielded by every president since George Washington. The only reason this has become a serious sticking point for the liberals right now is because of: A) the technology involved, and B) the dislike of the current president. It might serve as a solid reminder to Mr. Neas that Pres. Lincoln took his wartime powers to what would be deemed by liberals as extreme. I am, of course, referring to the suspension of habeas corpus.

It is arrogant of Sens. Specter and Leahy to believe that they can demand answers to these questions, and Judge Alito will wilt, and answer them. It's even further evidence of arrogance to demand that he see things from a view different than what the law states. The law is what it is; it's in black and white, and easily understandable to anyone with a brain. Either these two gentlemen lack theirs, or they've been sitting on them far too long.

Mistress Pundit

Breaking News---After removing the ANWR provision from the Defense Appropriation Bill, the Senate voted in favor of it. This also means that the Katrina Relief package passes, the heating subsidy passes, and John Mccain's redundant torture bill passes so he can grandstand about it tomorrow. Of course the most important aspect of this bill--the money to keep our mission going--passed, but none of the blowhards in the Senate want to discuss that other than Sen. Frist, Sen. Kyl, and Sen. Cornyn. Also, Sen. McCain wasn't present when the votes went down tonight, at least I didn't hear him speak. So, I'm wondering if he really cares about the important legislation passed tonight.

Also, with the GOP standing in line, the Patriot Act was extended for six months. SIX LOUSY MONTHS, and then we go through this all over again. This has to end. The government must have the tools in it's arsenal to keep this nation safe. The NSA program and the Patriot Act are two key components to that protection. The GOP had better either find a way to make peace with the Democrats (I'd actually prefer to discover their ba**s, and take the fight to them), or a way to run them over, and get the Patriot Act back on track for another three years. In my opinion, this needs to be kept in effect until this war is over. We can't afford to lose this act for even a week; our enemies would be all over the advantage too quickly.

The Democrats are playing chicken with our national security. It's time every concerned citizen in this nation make it apparent to them that this sort of behavior is unacceptable, and that there are consequences for such games.


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