Thursday, March 30, 2006

Democrats Continue Pushing Debate On Legality Of Warrantless Surveillance

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced a bill yesterday that would put lawsuits challenging the President Bush's warrantless surveillance program on a fast track to the Supreme Court.

With Congress and the Bush administration at odds over the legality of eavesdropping on Americans without court warrants, the legislation could produce a timely ruling by the court on the program's constitutionality, Schumer said. Lawsuits would be heard by a panel of three federal judges, whose decision could be appealed immediately to the Supreme Court.

"We have a system of checks and balances," he said, "and, in this case, when the stakes are so high, the Supreme Court should be the ultimate check."

***

Meanwhile, progress is being made on the Democrats' other effort to put the warrantless surveillance debate front-and-center before the American people.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) yesterday suggested that Sen. Russ Feingold’s (D-WI) bill to censure President Bush could get its day before the full Senate, a move certain to ignite an intense partisan showdown with election-year stakes.

***

The Democrats want to force an answer to a central question: Why did the White House claim it had "inherent authority" to conduct such surveillance, then undercut that argument by supporting legislation from Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) to "further codify" (read: legalize) the surveillance program?

Americans should find it suspect that Republicans have generally opposed investigating the program. As DeWine said, "We don’t want to have any kind of debate about whether it’s constitutional or not constitutional."

The proposals by Schumer and Feingold would answer these questions quickly.

Conservative pundits say that Democrats are conducting a witch hunt. And they try to frame the debate as "are you for terrorist surveillance or not," but that's just a bunch of empty spin.

The question should be: Is President Bush above the law, or not? Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said no during his confirmation hearings, knowing at the time that Bush was skirting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Democrats want to fight, and win, the war on terror. But that fight has to be a legal one. Americans can't export democracy and freedom and at the same time look the other way when the White House skirts laws it finds constricting.

6 Comments:

Anonymous MadMaddie said...

Good News....

11:37 AM  
Anonymous Jim4Wes said...

Fast track to the SCOTUS

kinda scary thought that.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

the question has to be answered

who else can ultimately decide, if Dems get a stone wall from the GOP?

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Zenlitened said...

Dynamite. They've got to hammer away at this, from now to Nevember and probably beyond.

"The President is out of control."

If we don't have a Constitution, we don't have an America anymore, folks.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous trinity said...

This is such a bogus issue. I think I give up on you guys.

5:30 PM  
Blogger RB Ripley said...

"This is such a bogus issue. I think I give up on you guys."

Why a bogus issue?

6:18 PM  

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