IS IT IMPEACHMAS YET?Surveillance reserved for overseas?This bug's for you...

"Mr. Bush’s executive order allowing some warrantless eavesdropping on those inside the United States including American citizens, permanent legal residents, tourists and other foreigners is based on classified legal opinions that assert that the president has broad powers to order such searches, derived in part from the September 2001 Congressional resolution authorizing him to wage war on Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, according to the officials familiar with the N.S.A. operation. "

Has it come to high crimes and misdemeanors yet?

Recognizing that Cheney must go as well, so we are electing President (heave) Hastert,


How can we tolerate the described violence upon the Bill of Rights and call ourselves Americans?

You do pro bono? They may be coming for me…

Seriously, at least in the 1960’s we had a sense of being able to do something.

I can’t believe that the country is so passive. We seem to just describe what is happening and watch the freedoms go one by one.

Do people just assume that things will return to pre-Patriot Act, pre-Bush Administration in 2008?

Gee, Nixon got the axe with a burglary, a coverup conspiracy and an Enemies List. Look where we are now.

I’d love to but how to avoid the “email cover”

I have been so enjoying having an inactive file…

Agreed. Why is that? You think they put something in the water to tranquilize us? No, its not all that farfetched. Or maybe no one really cares anymore.

Nixon was handicapped by his racism–he failed to tap what I suppose we can describe without blushing as the gangster’s first choice for legal aid.
(I had a friend who used to say

If you get shot, get a jew doctor.
If you get caught, get a jew lawyer
If you get jumped, get a jew gun (an uzi, I think was the object of reference)

Bush, per contra, had the scum sucking snake in the grass who defiles Boalt Hall every time he sets foot on the stairs outside, John Yoo.

Yoo has this deadpan delivery where the most outrageous propositions become a matter of political cost/benefit analysis instead of constitutional and moral prohibition,.

Nixon would never have hired Yoo anymore than he would have hired Johnny Cochrane.

(I believe that Mr. Johnny would have walked Nixon out with his presidency intact

Consider the 18 minute gap supposedly caused by Rosemary Woods–

“If the leg can reach, you can’t impeach…”)

Wishful thinking, but certainly not.

Even the Times is saying this is of “questionable” constitutionality. Which means the worst that could happen is somehow this makes it to the Supreme Court, which rules the government doesn’t have the authority to listen in on conversations without a warrant. Or, they could rule that it’s a-ok.

Anyways, in this particular case the NSA has actually kept a federal judge informed on the program, as well as the Senate Intelligence Committee. So it’d be hard to consider this criminal in any way. It may be something that is ruled unconstitutional at some point, though.


Wishful thinking on your part, perhaps. Just because I tell the local DA I’m gonna knock over a liquor store, and the DA says, “Proceed at your own risk,” it’ doesn’t mean I won’t get prosecuted if I knock over the liquor store.

You don’t like it, so it must be unconstituional? Is that it?

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search. It prohibts warrantless phone taps for phone calls within the United States.

The Fourth Amendment does not apply overseas. The NSA is perfectly free to tap a phone conversation between, say, Greece and Turkey, without violating the constitution.

Therefore, calls overseas, even if one side of the call is within the United States, do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and they are permitted under the standard enunciated in Katz v. US.

Now, at some point the courts may say, “Nope, you can’t do that.” But they haven’t, and until they do, it’s a perfectly reasonable position for the government to take.

I believe that many of you people wringing hands and wailing at the Evil Bushco’s unprecedented assault on civil liberties have very little sense of history. The rule used to be that telephone conversations were fair game as long as the physical tap wasn’t placed inside private property (Olmstead v. US). Then along came Katz, who complained that taps placed on a public phone booth violated the Fourth Amendment. Yup, said the Court, we agree. The NEW rule rejects the “trespass doctrine” as unworkable. Instead, we will ask if the area being monitored has an expectation of privacy that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.

Now, were we living in benighted, oppressive times during the years the Olmstead trespass doctrine existed, shivering beneath an oppressive government?

The rule changed to reflect the times and the expectations.

You lot seem to feel that change is constitutionally permitted only when it is in the direction you favor, and unconstitutional when it is not. That’s garbage.

Now the government is taking the existing rule and applying in a reasonable manner: in this day and age, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy on an international call. The courts may disagree, and create new law clarifying this. But until they do, the administration is not doing anything illegal, or even wrong.

I want some of what you’re having. Illegal? No. Wrong? Yes.

If only the party outside the US were tapped, you might have a point. But you’re declaring that a party in the US does not have Fourth protection if the other party is not in the US. That’s silly - wiretaps don’t filter out one voice.

Perhaps you could explain that, too. Katz:

Seems to have *confirmed * that a judge’s authorization is necessary, and that wiretapping does indeed come under the Fourth, doesn’t it?

Doesn’t seem to be in Katz, though. More, bolding added:

Doesn’t seem to be anything new to rule on here, does there?

Argue legality if you like (although *applicable * cites would help). How do you get to it not being wrong?

Silly Reincarnated Elvis. It’s being done by Republicans.

Bricker is, regretfully, right from a strictly Constitutional point of view.

There is a question, implied strongly but insofar as I know never overtly stated in past debates, of whether or not the fact that some incursion on liberty is permissible unless strictly prohibited is an acceptable state of affairs. Stated simply, do we want to live in a statist society where the government can do whatever it wants unless explicitly stopped from doing so by some constitutional prohibition, or do we want a more libertarian society where citizens can do what they want unless prohibited from doing so by a valid, constitutional law? The Conservatives on this board seem to be arguing from the first perspective, which truly bothers me. The Left seems to be arguing from the second, but have never clearly articulated that it’s what ought to be the underlying philosophy of governance. And, of course, the principle that with rare exceptions like Cincinnatus, a leader will acquire as much power as he legally can, always applies. So do we work to delimit that power to the minimum needed for good government, or do we acquiesce in the amassing of additional power?

There is, however, a second issue raised by Alaric here, and it’s one I really want to see argued out.

There is absolutely no doubt that the House of Representatives may impeach any government official, and the Senate convict him/her, on any grounds that they agree is acceptable. If a federal judge is arrested and pleads to reckless driving, a misdemeanor, that is legitimate grounds for impeachment if the House chooses to do so, and for conviction if the Senate agrees.

However, I want to raise my voice in protest that impeachment is a valuable tool but one to be used extremely sparingly. I think there are grounds to convict Mr. Bush of violating at least one of his constitutionally-mandated duties of office. But I personally would be dismayed if he were impeached for that.

I believe impeachment, particularly of the President but also of judges, should never be used as a political tool, as a means of removing or making impotent an incumbent with whom one disagrees. It should be reserved for such stunts as Watergate where the delicate (unwritten) constitutional mechanisms by which representative government is created and maintained are being subverted.

Twenty years ago, the idea that the Andrew Johnson impeachment was anything but the politically motivated and indefensible behavior of a factionalist Congress was laughable. Yet a similar stunt was pulled on Mr. Clinton by a similarly factionalist group.

I believe it is time to say, “Enough!” to that sort of behavior, elevating political factionalism over the good of the country, and not impeach Mr. Bush, even though his behavior is quite impeachable, to take a stand for restraint in using constitutional sledgehammers to drive home thumbtacks.

And I would love to see a bipartisan coalition hold the Administration accountable for its behavior with respect to having gotten us into the Iraq war, the detention of prisoners at Guantanamo, the prevalence of scare tactics to justify government regulation intruding on formerly acceptable behaviors, and all the rest of the things people are getting up in arms about… not by impeachment or any other such tool, but by legislation mandating accountability and fair trials in courts of law.

Look: “High crimes and misdemeanors” means whatever Congress says it means. But it’s never yet been applied to something that wasn’t an actual crime.

This is not a crime.


I have my passport but leaving isn’t as easy as picking up self and crossing the border. A job on nonAmerican soil is kind of necessary, and to get one of those you need the equivalent of a green card.

Seems like the forces that be really want me to stay and fight, but I’ve had that sinking-ship, burning-building feeling since electon of '04 :frowning:

Bricker, why is it not wrong to imprison people, rip out their fingernails, half drown them, beat them senseless, etc.? What possible version of “not wrong” would encompass these acts?

And if it’s legal, should it be?

It should be legal to imprison people under certain circumstances, and it’s not wrong under those same circumstances.

As for the other acts you mention - beating them senseless, ripping out fingernails – I agree that’s almost always wrong, and should be illegal.

I’m a little confused about what that has to do with wiretaps of US-to-overseas calls, though.

Whoops, I may have conflated wiretapping with torture due to an argument I was having in another thread. Carry on. It’s stil wrong to wiretap without oversight, though. WTF, are we living in the Soviet Union or what?

Really? The Andrew Johnson articles


What crime is that? The legality of the Tenure of Office Act even at the time is arguable, though.