May 17 2006

Specter Backs Down On NSA

Published by at 8:30 am under All General Discussions

Our good friend Mark Coffey has noted a compromise the White House has reached with Arlen Specter regarding the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program.  Looks like a reasonably solution to me and keeps the program out of Specter’s Judiciary Committee where more details might be exposed to our enemies.  Mark also notes the reaction from liberal complainer Glenn Greenwald, which confirms my opinion this is a good solution.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Specter Backs Down On NSA”

  1. WWS says:

    Key paragraph:

    “Instead, Specter agreed to allow the administration to retain an important legal defense by allowing the court, which holds its hearings in secret, to review the program only by hearing a challenge from a plaintiff with legal standing, said a person familiar with the text of language agreed to by Specter and committee conservatives.”

    Although the article (and Greenwald) acts as though this is a “compromise”, this is one of the basic consitutional requirements for any case to be submitted to a Federal Court, and Congress does NOT have the power to change that. (even though from time to time thay may like to pretend that they do) Specter’s plan would have called for an “advisory opinion” – with his background and his position, he above all people should have known that that is one of the big constitutional “no-no’s”.

    For any who wish to do a little background reading, this arises from the Art. III, Sec. 2 “case or controversy” requirement. And one of the very first Supreme Court cases, with George Washington as President and Thomas Jefferson as Sec. of State arose when they decided to ask the new Supreme Court for an “advisory opinion” on

  2. WWS says:

    (finishing where I left off in mid sentence) – “advisory opinion” on some matter of foreign policy. The Court said “nope! Advisory opinions without a real case or controversy underlying them are strictly unconstitutional, and we can not comply with your request.”

    Nothing has changed in the 210 years since that opinion was given, and Specter’s dream of a secret court giving “advisory opinions” to the Executive is just as unconstitutional today as it was back then.

    – WWS