CAMP DAVID, Md. -
President Bush said those who agree with a federal judge that his warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional "simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live."
"This country of ours is at war," the president said Friday. "And we must give those whose responsibility it is to protect the United States the tools necessary to protect this country in a time of war."
I've been hearing a whole lot of defense of the president's program in the sake of war because it was apparently instrumental in ferreting out the british terror plot with the ten airliners. The latest bash was calling U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor an activist judge, "legislating from the bench".
I've heard those terms before, from the pandering conservatives.
Note: before you jump all over me here, I don't think all conservatives (or liberals) are pandering. I believe that the vast majority of people are actually capable of decent thought, but our political media tend to show the polarized opposites that are represented by Rush, Hannity, Al Franken and the like.
Taking this decision as "legislating" by an "activist judge" really weakens the concept to the point of absurdity. It was a legal decision in a district court hearing. The judge did what she was supposed to do which is render a decision. And because it went against the president, she's labeled as an activist judge.
Here's the gist of the decision: even the president does not have the authority to circumvent due process in ordering surveillance, that it violates the fourth amendment protections.
EDIT: I was mistaken: the memorandum of decision explicitly states that this is the international telephone and internet communications. I shall let the rest of the text stand in place as a monument that even I can be wrong. :)
However, this begs the question of the involvement of the NSA instead of the CIA. That is a jurisdictional issue which I find interesting, though far less interesting than that shiny thing over there.
Bush (and the Bush lawyers including AG Gonzalez) feel strongly that they do have the power to circumvent due process because they need to to capture potential terrorists and others who may pose a threat to national security.
"The end justifies the means" - Sophocles, 409 B.C.
"The result justifies the deed" - Ovid, 10 B.C.
"A war is just if you know you can win it." - George H. W. Bush, 1986
I have far less discomfort with a non-domestic surveillance program than I do a domestic one. When the government claims the right to spy and search/sieze its own citizens without due process of a warrant (which is a primary tool of checks and balances), we are in serious trouble.