I posted the other day on the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in response to the lawsuit brought by the? American Civil Liberties Union? challenging the President’s so called “Terrorist Surveillance Program” (TSP).? It was a story posted with little review of the judges decision. Her ruling actually raises serious issues that extend beyond that one program.? ?
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. – THE FEDERALIST NO. 47, at 301 (James Madison)
Here’s the meat of the issue.
George W. Bush, Jr personally stated that he had over 30 times authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans suspected of terrorist connections without a warrant.
The secret eavesdropping program, which President Bush authorized shortly after the September 11 attacks, allows the NSA to intercept domestic communications without a warrant, as long as one party is outside the United States…Bush, who first authorized the program in early 2002, said he has renewed the program over 30 times since its inception and reviews it every 45 days.? – Inquiry into leak of NSA spying program launched, CNN
But that contrary to what the law says on the matter.
Federal law says that “exclusive means” to conduct electronic surveillance is FISA and Title III (which governs the use of wiretaps by law enforcement)…Federal law says that any surveillance that is not conducted under those two statues is illegal. [18 U.S.C. 2551(2)(f); 50 U.S.C. 1809(a)] – The Department of Justice Memo Debunked, Think progress
The Department of Justice issued a memo in defense of the President’s program, and his authorization of it making two basic arguments.
The Department of Justice has released a memo defending President Bush’s warrantless domestic spying argument. There are two main arguments:
- Any limitations FISA places on the President’s authority to issue warrantless domestic searches are unconstitutional, and
- Congress gave the President authority to issue warrantless domestic searches
Two days ago a Judge issued a ruling on this? program which invalidated those two defenses:
Defendants have violated the Constitutional rights of their citizens including the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and the Separation of Powers doctrine.
This court is constrained to grant to Plaintiffs the Partial Summary Judgment requested, and holds that the TSP violates the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"); the Separation of Powers doctrine; the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and the statutory law.
She also said:
The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well.
One of the duties of the President of the United States enumerated in article? II section 3 of our Constitution:
…he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed…
He also swears in his oath of office to protect and defend the constitution of the United States. Our founders felt this oath was so important they enshrined it in our Constitution also in Article II section 1.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
By authorizing this illegal program George W. Bush, Jr is also guilty of a Felony punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.
A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally:
(1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except? as authorized by statute;
President Bush, violated his oath of office, the constitution, and the law? by authorizing this program. We impeached Bill Clinton for lying under oath about an affair in a civil law suit. How can we not respond the same for this much more serious breach by President Bush.
The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
If our elected representatives do not take prompt action to punish the President for violating his oath, and abrogating one of the primary duties as president, they will be violating their oaths of office as well.
Read on for the full text of the Judges ruling….