Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wishful thinking (my own)

What does the FISA bill say about telecom immunity?
"The compromise bill directs a federal district court to review certifications from the attorney general saying the telecommunications companies received presidential orders telling them wiretaps were needed to detect or prevent a terrorist attack. If the paperwork were deemed in order, the judge would dismiss the lawsuit."
[House passes new surveillance law]
As suggested this past Monday by dday on Hullabaloo, this sounds a lot like a paper-whipping exercise.

My wishful thinking? That the first federal district court to review an AG "certification" finds that...
The United States Constitution being the Supreme Law of the Land, the Executive has not the competence to arbitrarily abrogate any of its provisions, among which are the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and the requirement for a warrant based on probable cause.
"Competence" is here used in the legal sense:
The quality or condition of being legally qualified to perform an act.
[The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition, copyright 2000]
Aside: my "wishful thinking" court opinion ultimately derives from another quotation from A Man for All Seasons
Richard Rich: ... He [Thomas More] said, "Parliament had not the competence", or words to that effect.
[Rich is testifying to a conversation with More in which Rich claims to have asked, why, if Parliament has declared King Henry VIII Head of the Church, More refuses to accept this Act of Parliament.]
Any chance any federal court judge will quote this play?

Stop the madness!

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