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Lawyers Group Says Bush Exceeds His Powers
February 14, 2006 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Lawyers Group Says Bush Exceeds His Powers [found at Linkfilter] The American Bar Association denounced President Bush's warrantless domestic surveillance program Monday, accusing him of exceeding his powers under the Constitution.
posted by Postroad (58 comments total)

 
Stunning!
posted by Witty at 11:13 AM on February 14, 2006


Witty!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:21 AM on February 14, 2006


Dick " Pepper" Cheney ain't gonna like this.
posted by lobstah at 11:23 AM on February 14, 2006


This could become a much bigger issue, especially if the ABA uses this decision as the basis for disbarring Alberto Gonzales and possibly other lawyers within the Bush administration.

If Gonzales were disbarred, then he would have no legal basis to perform his duties and make the legal decisions he does, and would have to step down.
posted by insomnia_lj at 11:28 AM on February 14, 2006


Helloooooo captains obvious.
posted by pmbuko at 11:28 AM on February 14, 2006


insomnia, I like what you're saying.
posted by pmbuko at 11:29 AM on February 14, 2006


This would be interesting if anything actually came from their condemnation. Well, anything other than a FPP on Metafilter.
posted by chunking express at 11:30 AM on February 14, 2006


Strange to have a Guardian link - which I will now go read. I'm not criticizing the FPP, just wondering where the American Media is on this.
posted by Richard Daly at 11:30 AM on February 14, 2006


I just wish I had more faith in what insomnia_lj was saying. that is, more faith in anything coming of this.
posted by NationalKato at 11:30 AM on February 14, 2006


If anything happens, it will be this:

The 400,000-member ABA said that if the president believes the FISA is inadequate to protect Americans, he should to ask Congress to amend the act.
posted by NationalKato at 11:32 AM on February 14, 2006


The Bush Administration pretends to take the advice of a different group, even as they rob them blind.

Strange to have a Guardian link

Sometimes I think I'd never know what's going on in America if not for the BBC.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:33 AM on February 14, 2006


White House spokesman Allen Abney said Monday the ``administration has provided ample legal justification' for the program, which is ``firmly grounded' in the law.
Did I miss a meeting? I vaguely recall Gonzales doing some handwaving and some "Look at the pretty lights! Don't look over there, look over here!" misdirection but I completely missed the firmly grounded in the law ample justification Mr. Abney refers to ...
posted by kaemaril at 11:33 AM on February 14, 2006


insomnia, the ABA can't disbar anybody. Legal licensing is a state-by-state issue. The ABA is largely a political, advocacy organization, not a regulatory one (although they do draft model codes, and have some indirect authority over law schools by virtue of their accreditation role). In short, by itself this pronouncement carries no more weight than an equivalent announcement by the ACLU.
posted by pardonyou? at 11:33 AM on February 14, 2006


So far, the rabid "republicans" have been astonishingly scarce from the recent threads about the abuses being perpetrated by this administration. I'm still wondering if it's cognitive dissonance (they just ignore stuff about Bush they don't like), because I can't imagine even those guys arguing that this stuff is okay.

I suppose it could be simply be that they can't admit they were wrong, but if they did have a change of heart, and don't feel they can defend BushCo anymore, it'd be nice to see them waking up.
posted by Malor at 11:34 AM on February 14, 2006


I completely missed the firmly grounded in the law ample justification Mr. Abney refers to ...

It's their bullshit and fascist "inherent rights" argument. That or their bullshit and absurd "the AUMF covers this" argument.
posted by sonofsamiam at 11:35 AM on February 14, 2006


If anything happens, it will be this:

The 400,000-member ABA said that if the president believes the FISA is inadequate to protect Americans, he should to ask Congress to amend the act.


Sadly, I think you're right.

The thing I don't understand is this: there's all this talk of "asking Congress to change the law" and Bush is arguing that the authorization for war in Afghanistan authorized the NSA program, but isn't this all irrelevant given that warrantless spying is unconstitutional? Doesn't a judge need to approve all authorizations to search, and isn't the judge only allowed to do so when there's good reason? Legal experts?
posted by rxrfrx at 11:35 AM on February 14, 2006


Good point Malor... dead on.
posted by Witty at 11:36 AM on February 14, 2006


It's an AP story, so it's not like the UK media is doing the reporting here.
posted by smackfu at 11:36 AM on February 14, 2006


Washington Post article. Print edition. A section.
posted by stbalbach at 11:36 AM on February 14, 2006


Bush is just a country boy. He never saw them legal books. Its just an honest mistake.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:37 AM on February 14, 2006


What the hell do a bunch of lawyers know about the law anyway?
posted by wakko at 11:39 AM on February 14, 2006


Great. Now Cheney has a whole bunch of lawyers he has to shoot in the face.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:41 AM on February 14, 2006


The 400,000-member ABA said that if the president believes the FISA is inadequate to protect Americans, he should to ask Congress to amend the act.

But he already broke that law. Can he ask Congress to amend it retro-actively? I don't like that idea, that the President can do anything as long as he asks the Congress to fix it later.
posted by octothorpe at 11:42 AM on February 14, 2006


Hmm, I bet Wittington was a member of the ABA--the pogrom has begun!
posted by m@ at 11:45 AM on February 14, 2006


In short, by itself this pronouncement carries no more weight than an equivalent announcement by the ACLU.

I guess they never told that to the President or anything.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:49 AM on February 14, 2006


The thing I don't understand is this: there's all this talk of "asking Congress to change the law" and Bush is arguing that the authorization for war in Afghanistan authorized the NSA program, but isn't this all irrelevant given that warrantless spying is unconstitutional?


While there is a general consensus that domestic warrantless spying is a violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, there is not as much agreement that it constitutes a violation of the Fourth Amendment. It's certainly a plausible argument to make (and, indeed, many groups have already filed law suits seeking an injunction under this very argument), but it's more of a long shot than the FISA violation.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 11:52 AM on February 14, 2006


Their endorsement of Alito was much bandied about by the Republican media machine. Now watch for the ABA to be called a "liberal enclave." It's pretty much a shell game.
posted by bardic at 11:54 AM on February 14, 2006


kaemaril
posted by Witty at 11:57 AM on February 14, 2006


I was about to say the same thing, bardic. Like when the AARP was labeled a "liberal extremist" organization because of their opposition to Bush "saving" Social Security.
posted by brundlefly at 12:00 PM on February 14, 2006


Witty, maybe that was aimed at Malor? Not really apropos,anyway.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:20 PM on February 14, 2006


Dick 'Pepper' Cheney

I like "Shooter" better. Libby and Cheney? Scooter and Shooter.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:21 PM on February 14, 2006


Their endorsement of Alito was much bandied about by the Republican media machine. Now watch for the ABA to be called a "liberal enclave." It's pretty much a shell game.

ABA's status as a "liberal enclave" is the very reason that its endorsement of Alito was bandied about by the Republicans.

It was "see, Alito is so good that even the liberal ABA has to admit it and endorses him!"

That doesn't mean that the ABA isn't correct on this point, though. (Though they are undisputably a political activist organization that generally leans to the left).
posted by JekPorkins at 1:19 PM on February 14, 2006


Scooter and Shooter? I hardly know 'er!
posted by unknowncommand at 1:51 PM on February 14, 2006


JekPorkins, thanks for reinforcing my point. The Republicans don't argue on principle, they aregue on political, short-term gain, or at least have been. Look for more of the same as this administration continues to grasp at straws.

And I really don't think you've got a good grasp of the ABA--are you saying that most lawyers are liberal? Because plenty of conservative ones pay dues to them.
posted by bardic at 2:14 PM on February 14, 2006


And I really don't think you've got a good grasp of the ABA--are you saying that most lawyers are liberal? Because plenty of conservative ones pay dues to them.

No, I'm saying that the organization tends to throw its money around in support of left-leaning causes on a regular basis. By and large, attorneys know this, and no conservative lawers that I know are members of the ABA for precisely that reason. But the political leanings of the ABA's dues-paying members is not necessarily in line with what it uses its money for. The same could be said of most labor unions, I think. I've got a great grasp of the ABA. It's not as leftist as the ACLU, but when it lobbies, it is generally on the left side of the spectrum.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:18 PM on February 14, 2006


JekPorkins, your derail is charming and once again not working. Smear the messenger all you want to, but many smart lawyers on both sides of the political spectrum think the eavedropping without warrants from the FISA court is illegal. Period. Keep flapping your arms though, it's funny.
posted by bardic at 2:25 PM on February 14, 2006


The Republicans Politicians don't argue on principle, they aregue on political, short-term gain, or at least have been.

And bardic, I don't think it's fair to characterize JekPorkin's post as a "derail." In this case the "messenger" is the whole point, and he's not wrong that the ABA is known to lean left. Of course some conservatives belong; but the organization's public policy statements have a history of controversy.
posted by pardonyou? at 2:56 PM on February 14, 2006


bardic, I said the ABA is correct on this point. I expressly agree that eavesdropping without warrants from the FISA court is illegal. I'm not flapping my arms, but I'd like to be smacking you for pretending I'm smearing somebody. Does that count?
posted by JekPorkins at 2:56 PM on February 14, 2006


pardonyou?, Politicians don't argue on principle, especially when a single party is in charge of all three branches of government. Do you or don't you think Bush broke the law by eavesdropping without FISA warrants? That's the point, and I'm tired of people trying to change the story to how's it only libs who know Bush broke the law.

JekPorkins, I'd love to see you try, honestly. Until that day comes, go fuck yourself tough-guy.
posted by bardic at 3:15 PM on February 14, 2006


If Gonzales were disbarred, then he would have no legal basis to perform his duties and make the legal decisions he does, and would have to step down.

LOL, yeah right.

Also, the Judiciary act (of 1789) only requires the Attorney General to be "a meet person, learned in the law." They don't legally need to be Barred, and I'm not even sure there was an official bar association at the time.
posted by delmoi at 3:15 PM on February 14, 2006


Btw, I just hate Gonzales's face. He has way to easy-going a smile to be so evil.
posted by delmoi at 3:16 PM on February 14, 2006


*how it's* sorry for my typos
posted by bardic at 3:20 PM on February 14, 2006


Man, what's with the bashing of JekPorkins? Seems kind of pointless.
posted by delmoi at 3:28 PM on February 14, 2006


Malor: "So far, the rabid "republicans" have been astonishingly scarce from the recent threads about the abuses being perpetrated by this administration. I'm still wondering if it's cognitive dissonance (they just ignore stuff about Bush they don't like), because I can't imagine even those guys arguing that this stuff is okay."

Yes, Malor. They must be afraid of reasoned debate on the issues, like the insightful discussion on this thread.

Bardic: "JekPorkins, your derail is charming and once again not working. Smear the messenger all you want to, but many smart lawyers on both sides of the political spectrum think the eavedropping without warrants from the FISA court is illegal. Period. Keep flapping your arms though, it's funny."

Delmoi: "Btw, I just hate Gonzales's face. He has way to easy-going a smile to be so evil."
posted by esquire at 3:39 PM on February 14, 2006


esquire, what do you make of the article from a mainstream publication that I linked to? What's your take on the FISA controversy?

Or are you just another cog in the noise machine?
posted by bardic at 3:49 PM on February 14, 2006


Richard Daly writes "I'm not criticizing the FPP, just wondering where the American Media is on this."

On this, and on just about everything since 2001...
posted by clevershark at 4:42 PM on February 14, 2006


Er, I disagree with JekPorkins often, but I find his comments both germane and well reasoned, both in this discussion and others. Ten yard penalty for Bardic, start a new inning, and both of you back to your corners, eh?
posted by Richard Daly at 5:55 PM on February 14, 2006


I agree, Richard Daly. For some reason, JekPorkins gets a lot of undeserved flak in whatever thread he's in. I don't get it.
posted by brundlefly at 6:21 PM on February 14, 2006


JekPorkins wrote: I'm not flapping my arms, but I'd like to be smacking you for pretending I'm smearing somebody. Does that count?
posted by bardic at 7:33 PM on February 14, 2006


Bardic: Yes, it's frustrating when people pretend you're saying something that you're obviously not saying, especially when their accusation that you're "flapping your arms" appears to be based on an unfounded belief that you're a partisan who ignores facts. I apologize for the rudeness. It was uncalled for.

On the other hand, you're the one who said that it was a "smear" to call the ABA "liberal." Perhaps you're a right-wing ABA member who didn't realize that your dues are paying for left-leaning lobbying efforts?
posted by JekPorkins at 8:16 PM on February 14, 2006


JekPorkins is about a million times more interesting (and less dickish) than dios, and infinitely moreso than ParisParamus.

I'd point to him as proof that it's possible to defend contrary positions without being a raging asshole. It's a skill that's in dire shortage these days.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:39 PM on February 14, 2006


just wondering where the American Media is on this."

On this, and on just about everything since 2001...
posted by clevershark at 4:42 PM PST on February 14 [!]



Errr, such a statement could be made for many, many years before 2001. To think the media HAS an 'obligation' to report on anything is being overly optimistic.

paying for left-leaning lobbying efforts?

How about someone define what is 'left leaning'? Because Nixon was a 'righty', yet freezing prices doesn't sound very free marketey-righty-think'n.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:27 PM on February 14, 2006


Kirth Gerson - kaemaril had made a comment earlier in the thread basically calling out dios, similar to what "I Love Tacos" is doing... which we know is frowned upon. kaemaril's comment has since been deleted.
posted by Witty at 5:03 AM on February 15, 2006


JekPorkins, it's so hard to be you. You should sell tickets.

FWIW, suggesting figurative violence against another mefite is kind of dickish and verboten. My suggestion, borrowed from Dick Cheney, stands.
posted by bardic at 6:54 AM on February 15, 2006


Again, I apologize. But wasn't Dick Cheney's suggestion also "figurative violence?" Maybe there's a difference between suggesting figurative violence against another and commanding another to commit it against hisself. But come on. I just said I'd like to be doing it. You commanded me. eh.

Anyway, and so that this post is on-topic, the point is that a) The ABA's right on this one, b) they actually are a left-leaning political organization, and c) that really shouldn't bother you, unless you don't like left-leaning political organizations.
posted by JekPorkins at 8:02 AM on February 15, 2006


Whistleblower says NSA violations bigger
posted by homunculus at 9:27 AM on February 15, 2006


The NSA Scandal and public opinion myths
posted by homunculus at 10:05 AM on February 15, 2006


National security whistle-blowers allege retaliation
posted by homunculus at 11:22 AM on February 15, 2006


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