Friday, March 17, 2006

"Any other laws you're breaking that we could rewrite to match your whims, sire?"

Some Senators are still trying to pass a bill blessing the warrantless domestic spying program. The three biggest problems with this attempt are:

  • It would make a mockery of the Fourth Amendment; as even Arlen Specter said, there is no way we're going to let the government "do whatever the hell it wants" for 45 days; and even after that, applying for a warrant to four out of seven Senators, who not only have far more things than judges to worry about but are also eminently subject to political tides, does not make the search Fourth-Amendment-reasonable, as Anonymous Liberal cogently discussed. [* See update above...]

  • As Jack Balkin points out, to reward the administration's law-breaking by offering to rewrite the laws to reflect the king's wishes renders Congress a puppet body - a mere courtly scribe to jot down the way their master feels things should be that day, rather than "All legislative Powers [being] vested in a Congress of the United States..."

  • Most of all, since Bush's fundamental argument is that Congress is not authorized to pass laws that he must follow, whatever "compromise" laws Congress comes up with are an exercise in futility, since Bush will feel no more need to follow new laws than he feels to follow the laws already on the books. Al Gonzales made that position pretty clear when he humiliated the Senators trying to grill him by saying "to the extent that Congress wants to suggest legislation, obviously, we'll listen to your ideas", but would regardless carry on according to its own interpretation of its own power. Nothing Congress does will have any meaning until they can effectively ensure that the President will once again be bound by the laws already on the books.

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