Last week, Federal Judge Anna Diggs Taylor did the very thing that opponents of our current Administration accuse the President of doing: she issued a fiat without regard for the actual case and law. As regards the NSA international electronic surveillance program, she said, in essence, “I don’t like the President, so what he does is therefore illegal.” According to numerous legal experts from both sides of the political fence, she offered no legal support, no precedent for her decision (in fact, most admit she stood exactly opposite all precedents to this case).
Further, her decision, and the suit over which it was made, have hindered even more the efforts to defend us -- the private, yet voting public -- from murderous thugs overseas.
The NSA “wiretapping” program was employed in very much the fashion as instructed by the “nonpartisan” 9/11 commission, when they advised that our government work with intelligence services to prevent another such epic disaster from occurring. The practice of international data mining and electronic communications interception had been used by every administration prior to this one, right back to the one and only (saints be praised!) James Earl Carter.
That alone should have stayed her antagonism toward the program. After all, not only did he give the international electronic surveillance/ wiretapping game its start, he also gave Justice Taylor her job. Should she not have respected both his creations? It seems not.
Taylor tossed her job description in the wastebasket and trotted out partisan hackery. She skipped all the formalities of studying the precedents, considering the actual case, and instead issued a diktat. Sure, all the arguments were presented, but, so far, none of those seems to have been found in her statement. And, worse, none of the lawmakers on the left side of the aisle has any problem with her doing what she’s done. It’s all fine and dandy for some petty judge to stand and shake a fist at the law with middle finger extended, as far as they’re concerned. Nearly a week after the fact, and not one of the so-called leaders of the left has indicated that he noticed this lapse. Quite a few, in fact, have supported her decision as “an act of conscience.”
Funny, but they seem to have a bit of a problem with another member of their side, over his conscience. Joe Lieberman has been singled out as public enemy number one -- a man with only about the fourth most liberal voting record in the Senate, just behind Kennedy, Kerry, and I forget who else -- because he could not in good conscience stand up and retract his initial support for the war in Iraq. Truly independent conscience, it seems, is the liberal’s root of all evil.
The ostensible leaders of the Democratic party have another problem, as well. They don’t seem at all upset when government employees leak security secrets to the media, undermining our own safety here and abroad. The people who filed this suit did so because, they claim, some people, with whom they had done business before this program was exposed, stopped contacting them. Now, why would somebody who wasn’t involved in terrorism suddenly stop doing business once news of a terrorism-prevention program was made public? And, what sort of person complains about losing business because terrorists stopped coming around? Hmmm. Wasn’t the ACLU working with the litigants?
I honestly don’t know if the NSA’s wiretapping program is lawful and constitutional or not. After reading supposedly salient portions of Judge Taylor’s decision, my jury is still out. I will have to wait until the Supreme Court has its say, on appeal. But, after looking at the reaction from the left, of late, I’m inclined to give the current administration a whole lot more benefit of the doubt than I would have even six months ago. At least they’re serious about our defense.
And I will continue to expect a better reason for actions and decisions than the one that Justice Taylor gave. I will not be treated as a child. Further, I didn’t accept “because I say so” even when my parents -- whom I still trust absolutely -- tried it when I was little. I won’t accept it from any person or part of our government.
Ann Althouse (A Law Unto Herself)
The Volokh Conspiracy (Initial reactions to NSA Decision)
The Volokh Conspiracy (criticism of criticism of criticism)
Gateway Pundit (Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's Dirty Donations)