Monday, August 21, 2006

Useful Idiot of the Week

Time for a new quasi-weekly feature for those who, perhaps but not necessarily unintentionally, further the cause of terrorism. Named, of course, for Lenin's description of western reporters and other western fellow travelers who furthered the cause of communism via sympathetic or favorable coverage of the Soviet Union and its policies.

This week's "winner" is Carter-appointed Federal Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who issued a ruling that the NSA's program of surveilling international calls to or from terrorists is unconstitutional. In so doing she ignored a mountain of higher court precedent that the President has the constitutional authority under Article II to order warrantless surveillance for national security purposes. The program has previously been upheld by the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth and Ninth Circuits, as well as the FISA Court of Review, but if you judge-shop long enough you can find somebody to rule pretty much anything.

The Sixth Circuit will surely reject this decision on appeal, but it's sad that it even has to waste its time. This decision is just am intensely partisan judge putting Democrat Party politics above the law and the interests of the country. Even the far left NYT was forced to report on the scorn which legal analysts on both sides of the aisle have heaped on the decision:

They said the opinion overlooked important precedents, failed to engage the government’s major arguments, used circular reasoning, substituted passion for analysis and did not even offer the best reasons for its own conclusions.

Discomfort with the quality of the decision is almost universal, said Howard J. Bashman, a Pennsylvania lawyer whose Web log provides comprehensive and nonpartisan reports on legal developments.

“It does appear,” Mr. Bashman said, “that folks on all sides of the spectrum, both those who support it and those who oppose it, say the decision is not strongly grounded in legal authority.”

At least terrorists and their sympathizers got to celebrate briefly. As does Judge Taylor, having been named the first SarcastiPundit Useful Idiot of the Week and all that implies.

UPDATE 8/24/06: Ann Althouse has more on the quirks of decision and its implications. Money quote:

"For those who approve of the outcome, the judge’s opinion is counterproductive. It will be harder to defend upon appeal than a more careful decision. It suggests that there are no good legal arguments against the program, just petulance and outrage and antipathy toward President Bush. It helps those who have been arguing for years about result-oriented, activist judges."

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2 Comments:

At 8/21/2006 9:19 PM, Blogger Repack Rider said...

Help me here. Has the Constitution been suspended due to overwhelming cowardice of the American population?

Some foreign thug hates our freedom, and threatens us. So we immediately scrap some of the freedom paid for with the blood of patriots so he will like us? What's next? Give Osama a hug? Bring him a latte, low-fat goat's milk?

WHY DO SO MANY AMERICANS CARE SO MUCH WHAT OSAMA THINKS THAT THEY WILL GIVE UP THEIR RIGHTS FOR HIM?

How does a thug hiding in a cave in some other country get to dictate to us? When did American become such cowards that they will give up their rights because of this foreign thug?

I will take my chances with Osama killing me, but I won't surrender my Fourth Amendment rights to keep him from doing so.

And THAT, dear friends, is the difference betweeen patriotism and cowardice.

 
At 8/22/2006 10:53 AM, Blogger Gary Collard said...

While it is true that Judge Taylor tried to suspend Article II of the Constitution in this laughable decision, there is no reason to think that it ultimately will be suspended, so the answer to your question is ultimately no.

Of course I have not lost any rights, and I assume you have not either, but the plaintiffs in this case make the rather remarkable claim that the ability to have private international conversations with US enemies during wartime is a "right." I have not seen anything suggesting that Americans on the homefront were allowed private conversations with Nazi soldiers in Europe during World War II, so I have to assume that this supposed right comes solely from the imaginations of those who always side with US enemies and not from any actual precedent.

 

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