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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.

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Friday, March 31, 2006

TEN YARD PENALTY: Blatant Misrepresentation By The Left!

As many of us are coming across, the Left has decided to take the issue of the president's NSA terrorist surveillance program to a new level. Marcie was hit with this argument last night in a chatroom. Yes, she held to In re: Sealed Case, as she should have. That precedent supercedes anything said in a Congressional committee. But I had no idea what she was talking about. That was until I read this from Captain Ed, which explained a lot. The story orginated in the New York Times. Eric Lichtblau, the author grossly misrepresented his story. Actually, "misrepresented" is a bit lax. Like Michael Ware, Mr. Lichtblau lied. This is what he wrote:

In a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the secretive court, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, several former judges who served on the panel also voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president's constitutional authority to order wiretapping on Americans without a court order. They also suggested that the program could imperil criminal prosecutions that grew out of the wiretaps.

Judge Harold A. Baker, a sitting federal judge in Illinois who served on the intelligence court until last year, said the president was bound by the law "like everyone else." If a law like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is duly enacted by Congress and considered constitutional, Judge Baker said, "the president ignores it at the president's peril."

Judge Baker and three other judges who served on the intelligence court testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in support of a proposal by Senator
Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, to give the court formal oversight of the National Security Agency's eavesdropping program. Committee members also heard parts of a letter in support of the proposal from a fifth judge, James Robertson, who left the court last December, days after the eavesdropping program was disclosed.

The intelligence court, created by Congress in 1978, meets in a tightly guarded, windowless office at the Justice Department. The court produces no public findings except for a single tally to Congress each year on the number of warrants it has issued — more than 1,600 in 2004. Even its roster of judges serving seven-year terms was, for a time, considered secret.

Now, let's take a look at the the transcript as reported by PowerLine.

Judge Kornblum: Presidential authority to conduct wireless [Sic. Presumably Judge Kornblum meant "warrantless."] surveillance in the United States I believe exists, but it is not the President's job to determine what that authority is. It is the job of the judiciary.


The President's intelligence authorities come from three brief elements in Article II....As you know, in Article I, Section 8, Congress has enumerated powers as well as the power to legislate all enactments necessary and proper to their specific authorities, and I believe that is what the President has, similar authority to take executive action necessary and proper to carry out his enumerated responsibilities of which today we are only talking about surveillance of Americans.


Senator Feinstein: Now I want to clear something up. Judge Kornblum spoke about Congress's power to pass laws to allow the President to carry out domestic electronic surveillance, and we know that FISA is the exclusive means of so doing. Is such a law, that provides both the authority and the rules for carrying out that authority, are those rules then binding on the President?

Judge Kornblum: No President has ever agreed to that.


Senator Feinstein: What do you think as a Judge?

Judge Kornblum: I think--as a Magistrate Judge, not a District Judge, that a President would be remiss in exercising his Constitutional authority to say that, "I surrender all of my power to a statute," and, frankly, I doubt that Congress, in a statute, can take away the President's authority, not his inherent authority, but his necessary and proper authority.

Senator Feinstein: I would like to go down the line if I could.


Judge Baker?

Judge Baker: No, I do not believe that a President would say that.

Senator Feinstein: No. I am talking about FISA, and is a President bound by the rules and regulations of FISA?

Judge Baker: If it is held constitutional and it is passed, I suppose, just like everyone else, he is under the law too.


Senator Feinstein: Judge?

Judge Stafford: Everyone is bound by the law, but I do not believe, with all due respect, that even an act of Congress can limit the President's power under the Necessary and Proper Clause under the Constitution.


Chairman Specter: I think the thrust of what you are saying is the President is bound by statute like everyone else unless it impinges on his constitutional authority, and a statute cannot take away the President's constitutional authority. Anybody disagree with that?

[No response.]

Chairman Specter: Everybody agrees with that.

OWWW! Oh, the stake of truth might finally be through their thick heads!

I doubt it, but this proves two very important things about this debate. First, Eric Lichtblau lied about what the jurists actually stated. And again, it came from a chopped statement. But second, and most important, it was an argument that the Left has hinged itself on since the start of this whole damned debate. In re: Sealed Case 01-002 didn;t seem to faze them, and they held out hope over this circus.

You can't use what the judges say as "precedent set." Their testimony is not considered amidst the realm of jurisprudence; hinging one's hopes on this goes beyond pathetic. This is like caliming that because so-and-so said it that it trumps the FISA Court of Review's decision, of which Sealed Case is it's only appeal, and it's been quite explicit in where the president's limits are regarding this issue. It doesn't fall into the Left's camp of illegality. Therefore, this is now a moot point. I hope they give up this ghost. The Sealed Case decision stands as is, and trumps anything they come up with. So, remind the Left of this when this weak argument is raised. It doesn;t fly. It doesn't hunt. And even James Carville has the trash can on his head for his party even grasping this desperately at straws.

Publius II


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