Friday, August 18, 2006

A pox on all your houses

Pray that the end will come, now as it obviously must, quickly and painlessly. Here’s Scotty at Power Line:

Who's afraid of Anna Diggs Taylor?

Anyone who knows what legal analysis and legal argument look like -- anyone who knows the requisites of legal reasoning -- must look on the handiwork of Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in the NSA case in amazement. It is a pathetic piece of work. If it had been submitted by a student in my second year legal writing class at the University of St. Thomas Law School, it would have earned a failing grade.

On the issue of the legality of warrantless interception of enemy communications, for example, it is entirely conclusory. It does not address precedent. It assumes its conclusion, essentially framing the issue as whether the president can break the law. It simply asserts that the NSA eavesdropping program is "obviously in violation of the Fourth Amendment" -- apparently because it is warrantless. (Wrong.) She sagely observes that the "President of the United States is himself created by that same Constitution" -- you know, the one with the Fourth Amendment that she apparently thinks requires warrants in all cases.

Judge Taylor is like the big bad wolf in the fairly [sic] tale. She huffs and she puffs. I think she's facing the brick house that can't be blown down -- she at least can't blow it down -- but the end of this unedifying fairy tale has yet to be written by a higher and presumably more competent authority.

You’ll have to find your own link, Gs and Gettes. No, Spotty does not predict the end times based on the outcome of the NSA case.

Spot predicts the end of the world because Scotty has apparently got a job as a legal writing instructor. At literally the fourth-rate law school in Minnesota, one that employs the likes of John Yoo’s sidekick, Robert Delahunty, but still. You will recall, boys and girls that the song and dance team of Perfessers [sic, Spot knows] Yoo and Delahunty authored the brilliant legal memorandum that said that the administration didn’t need to worry about or comply with the Geneva Conventions. This is why administration factotums are this very moment slinking around the halls of Congress pushing the idea that the War Crimes Act should be modified to prevent any future, er, unpleasantness for Messrs. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al.

One the one hand, it is the perfect place for Scotty; on the other, students will be forced to part with coin of the realm to listen to Scotty and be subject to his ministrations. Let’s ask Scotty some questions, boys and girls, okay?

Have you actually read the opinion?

Did you notice that it discussed, inter alia, the two lines of cases supporting the state secrets privilege, the standing of the plaintiffs to maintain the action, the history of electronic surveillance in the United States, including FISA, the Fourth Amendment, the First Amendment (because some of the plaintiffs were journalists who interviewed sources by international telephone, the attorney-client privilege, the separation of powers argument created by the aforementioned gasbags Yoo and Delahunty, the authorization of the use of force by the Congress after 9/11, the so-called inherent power of the president, and “practical” justifications for exemption to the warrant requirement.

Spot says the Judge gave the government all the rope it wanted, and then some. The Judge’s opinion ran forty-four pages.

Oh, and Scotty, did you know that the basic prima facie case was made out by the plaintiffs out of the government’s own mouth? It admitted and affirmed many times that the warrantless program existed. It just couldn’t justify it as an exception to the warrant requirement.

Scotty, when you said that the Judge apparently thought warrants were always required, you brought dishonor on yourself, your piss-ant blog, and the school where you purport to teach. A pox on all your houses.

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