Review, Judicial

I did know about the March testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee by former FISA judges regarding the NSA intercepts, but it became background for me. It formed part of a nearly subconscious reaction to the
vacuous reasoning of Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in her decision this week.

I belabor the point here because adam, at The Metropolis Times, commented on a TOC post earlier this week in a way that makes me suspect he may not have known about the FISA judges’ testimony. E.g., that there are questions of law here with heavyweight Constitutional scholars on both sides. Anna Diggs Taylor paid attention to neither side.

My thinking is that, given even just those FISA judges’ opinions, Judge Taylor’s decision was so obviously superficial and political that it could not attract a defense on rational legal grounds. Given the precedents she ignored, and given the ongoing debate on the merits of the executive order enabling the warrantless wiretaps, Judge Taylor is at odds with the FISA judges and with legal scholars on both sides of this issue. I will admit that her opinion was so poorly written that one cannot be certain it addressed any point of law whatsoever.

With that percolating, and through a stream of consciousness series of links I can’t recall, I bumped into Ron Coleman at Dean’s World. He recounts the key element of the testimony.

A panel of former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges yesterday told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush did not act illegally when he created by executive order a wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA). The five judges testifying before the committee said they could not speak specifically to the NSA listening program without being briefed on it, but that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not override the president’s constitutional authority to spy on suspected international agents under executive order.

I recommend the entire post, and I hope this is useful to adam.

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