Thursday, December 29, 2005

As the Bear Dozes...

DovBear has asserted that President Bush violated the 4th amendment and possibly other freedoms guaranteed to us by the United States, along with a few laws, by ordering the interception of conversations between known terrorist cellphone numbers abroad and people in the United States in contact with them by the National Security Agency (NSA).

In his post on the subject, he challenged many of the more "right-wing" bloggers who comment there, including myself, to sign a waiver of our rights so President Bush can track everything we do. Instead, we challenged his assertions that the wiretaps were illegal, bringing in numerous facts and arguments why they would be legal. DovBear responded with his usual empty rhetoric, which was mindless babble as always. Interestingly, after a commenter named "C" said,
May I say, I find it fascinating listening to people quoting from editorial pages whining about the legality, or lack thereof, on the subject of wiretapping. There is really little worse then watching s/o ramble on regarding a topic of which he has no connection to. The only person actually saying s/t of worth would, I hate to say, Ezzie, b/c he's pointing out facts. Not knee-jerking.
, DovBear was smart enough to state:
Arguments are what matter. Nothing else.
This brought immediate satisfaction, as we threw in over the next hours a number of interesting articles that feel the President acted legally. DovBear added... none.

So, here's some reading for DovBear:
The Justice Department explains why the President's actions were legal.

(Some of these are taken from other bloggers)

Cass Sunstein (a liberal) has a few posts on their legality.

Geof Stone argues it is unconstitutional, but Nephtuli said to check the comments.

Orin Kerr argues they're constitutional. [@ volokh, though volokh is down]

Clinton's associate Attorney General stated it was legal.

The WSJ had an op-ed on the conflicts between executive power and FISA.


  1. One point: Kerr believes that the wiretapping might have violated FISA, so while it is likely constitutional, it is probably illegal.

  2. I believe one of the commenters noted how that is not a problem either, but I haven't checked in a few days...

  3. There were a gazillion comments on that post. Here is an interesting debate between a libertarian and conservative about the wiretapping. Note that even the libertarian did not find the wiretapping unconstitutional, but only a violation of FISA.

  4. Wow. That was a fascinating debate.

    I wonder why the border argument doesn't invalidate FISA (I'm assuming that if it does, Rivlin would have stated as much, though he may have implied it in his questions).

  5. Either way, Rivlin's arguments make more sense to me (and not because I was biased that way, though I'm sure that it played a role). Very interesting debate, though - thanks Nephtuli.

  6. I would have to guess the border exception only works in relation to the 4th Amendment, but cannot come into play against a statute because Congress could have easily included it. Just a thought.

  7. Irina - which post do you mean?

  8. I added the DovBear links - I didn't realize I forgot to put them in originally!

  9. Thanks! And thanks for all those links to the articles - they make for fascinating reading! (even though my view on the issue is already made up - and I bet you can tell what it is!)

  10. You lose points for honesty.

    Kerr called the wiretapping ILLEGAL.

    Sunstein said the president had a "plausible but not decisive case"

  11. You didn't read the comments above you.

    First, I noted he said it was "constitutional", but I agree that that was misleading, implying it to be perfectly legal. Read the comments by Kerr, however, and there was a good commenter (IIRC) who showed how it was legal as well.