Friday, August 18, 2006

NSA case exposes blatant GOP hypocrisy

The American right wing has said repeatedly, loudly, and belligerently that they favored strict constructionist judges, strict constructionist interpretations of the Constitution. Now that they've got a decision that is as strictly drawn upon the Constitution as any decision in recent memory, the right wing responds by trashing the judge —Judge Anna Diggs Taylor! They claim she was once married to a Democrat and she was appointed by Jimmy Carter! The Bush administration attacks on another front, lamely resorting to the 911 argument i.e., he's a "war President" and, presumably, the Constitution no longer applies. But even before 911, Bush had quipped:
This would be a whole lot easier if this was a dictatorship...heh heh heh just as long as I'm the dictator.

—George W. Bush

The spirit of the decision is summed up in a single quotation from the decision:
There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution.

—Judge Anna Diggs Taylor

This is a strict constructionist interpretation if there ever was one. Right wing commentary that it is a victory for the far left is wrong and wrong headed! It is, rather, a victory for what's left of American democracy. Simply, the strict interpretation of the Constitution is best summed up in those very words, words worth repeating:
There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution,
The decision continues:
It was never the intent of the Framers to give the President such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another. It is within the court's duty to ensure that power is never "condense[d]...into a single branch of government." Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507, 536 (2004) (plurality opinion). We must always be mindful that "[w]hen the President takes official action, the Court has the authority to determine whether he has acted within the law." Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681, 703 (1997). "It remains one of the most vital functions of this Court to police with care the separation of the governing powers....When structure fails, liberty is always in peril." Public Citizen v. U.S. Dept. of Justice, 491 U.S. 440, 468 (1989) (Kennedy, J., concurring).
The right wing, in fact, are only part-time strict constructionists. Endemically hypocritical, the right wing can be counted on to oppose the strict interpretation of the Constitution when it applies to those portions of the Constitution about which they are prejudiced and irrationally inconsistent. This is another instance in which the right wing is seen never to live up to its own standards, its own flawed and often incoherent rhetoric. The right, for example, often plays fast and loose with the Constitution if it is seen to be in the interests of corporations or the executive. Clearly —it is liberty, freedom, and the rights of individuals which suffer from this often loose and reckless interpretation of the Constitution. More from the decision:
The wiretapping program here in litigation...has undisputedly been implemented without regard to FISA violation of the Fourth Amendment.

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....In this case, the President has acted, undisputedly, as FISA forbids. FISA is the expressed statutory policy of our Congress. The presidential power, therefore, was exercised at its lowest ebb and cannot be sustained.

The ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights published this statement in a news release issued today:
The President lied about the existence of the NSA Program for four years. Today's opinion proves that he was also lying when he insisted that the program was legal."
Other writers have said that this decision may provide the legal basis for the impeachment and removal of George W. Bush who has assumed powers not granted to him by the Constitution. Indeed, the decision confirms that there are " powers not created by the Constitution".

If we had wanted a monarchy, we had one! It didn't work out! Moreover, the one we had —King George III —was better than the cretinous would be King that arrogates unto himself powers he doesn't have and doesn't deserve. King George III was wrong and mad, but George Jr is merely ludicrous and slow witted.

Besides —not even Kings were above the law, as Bush claims to be. The example most relevant to us, being inheritors of the English Common Law, is that of King Charles I whom the British beheaded when he assumed powers that had not been granted him by the people and their Parliament. That is a cautionary tale.

Some important resources:

The Existentialist Cowboy
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