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Congressional Approval Doesn't Matter
Published on August 18, 2006 By Jythier In Politics
So, I read this morning on AOL news that a judge has finally decided that the spying on people without warrants by the president and his men is unconstitutional.


The article went on to mention that due to this ruling, the President might have to seek congressional approval. ... I don't really get it. Did anyone bother to read the constitution? What can Congress do? Anything they do to approve it will just be unconstitutional in itself!

Anyway, as soon as the USA PATRIOT Act was passed, and I knew about it, I feared this result. It's not that I want my rights trampled on - far from it. But, terrorists that have been caught by unconstitutional means get a pass. They go free. Not yet, but when it's all said and done, that's what's going to happen. You can't pass an unconstitutional law and prosecute people with it. They will get away in the end, not be caught. There are only a couple explanations to this. One is that GWB was just hoping that nobody would notice. It got through Congress because of that, I think. The second is that GWB wants terrorists to go free. I don't know why he would want that, but if you look into his history, it could be possible. The Bin Laden family got out without being questioned.

Honestly, I'm not sure. Maybe he just didn't bother to pay attention in government class. But... some of those terrorists could've been caught without the unconstitutional help. And they would've stayed locked away. Now, who knows?

Comments (Page 1)
on Aug 18, 2006

The Issue is domestic vs foreign spying.  The ruling was framed on domestic.  The constitution clearly gives the president (not congress or the courts) power on the foreign front.  That is the issue being appealed.  And given the ditzy broad that ruled, it will in all likelyhood be over turned. her ruling really was bad. (from a legal stand point).

Hopefully we will get a more intelligent one from the higher courts.  That does not mean they will agree with Bush, just that it will be better based in Jurisprudence and the Constitution.

on Aug 18, 2006
Well, yeah, he can spy foreignly, but not domestically. I thought that's what this was all about. Article wasn't very clear about that though...
on Aug 18, 2006

Article wasn't very clear about that though...

That is because it was from the Media! (and they hate Bush).

on Aug 18, 2006
Dr. Guy, why are you always the first to comment?
on Aug 18, 2006

Dr. Guy, why are you always the first to comment?

Sorry.  I like your articles.  Should I wait?

on Aug 18, 2006
No, I like that someone is reading them! Just thought you might be a JUaholic like me.
on Aug 18, 2006

Just thought you might be a JUaholic like me.

No. There is too much spam on here.  So I pick and choose.

on Aug 18, 2006
I've started to pick and choose too. I don't write too many articles, usually, but tonight there was just stuff to blog about. And I have the time with my wife and son being away for the weekend!
on Aug 19, 2006
Heh, you might want to research the issue a bit more. Heck, you might want to actually read the constitution while you are at it. The judge in question BELIEVES that the people who framed the constitution didn't want this, but we aren't ruled by dead people from 200 years ago.

Thus, we have a congress. In that congress we can pass basically anything we want. If tomorrow we as a society overwhelmingly wanted to reinstate slavery and make witchcraft a crime punished by burning at the stake, we could. If a judge finds that what we want isn't in line with the constitution, we can amend the constitution in the same congress.

Welcome to democracy. The issue here isn't the constitution, anyway. It is about boneheaded laws that opportunistic politicians passed after Watergate. Those laws restricted the power of the executive branch, and if the congress so chooses they can tweak those powers. If the courts balk, they can overcome the courts.

Why? Because if that wasn't true, we would have no democratic rights as citizens. We'd live in a totalitarian state ruled by a bunch of dead guys in powdered wigs through proxies we vote for. Thankfully for minority Americans, women, and untold others who those wigged people didn't give a damn about, we rule ourselves.

on Aug 19, 2006
Even if an amendment happens, it would have to supercede parts of the Bill of Rights. People tend to like the Bill of Rights, so I would think people would get extremely upset if anyone tried to amend it to give us less rights. So it most likely won't happen.

Are you thinking about the phone tapping laws? I believe the Constitution should have been interpretted to not allow phone tapping without cause anyway. It's freedom that the Constitution is protecting, and new technology should not give the government the right to infringe upon it.

If you were thinking of different boneheaded laws, please share.
on Aug 19, 2006
As I said, perhaps you need to do a bit more research, since I think a bit more knowledge about the situation might answer some of your questions. Find, if you will, where the bill of rights mentions the word "privacy". It doesn't mention wiretapping or phone conversations, because there weren't wires or phones. Even if it did, we can change it as we like.

So, please, if you would, point out what in the bill of rights would have to be amended. This is the kind of junk I hear from "rights" advocates all the time. There are tons of imagined rights, most of which come from misinterpreting our bodies of law, enacted by the congress you question, and still others don't exist at all.

But, then in the end, you really can't make the point because no matter what triviality you find, the people of the US have the final say, not the courts, and not corpses in their powdered wigs. When you pretend the Congress works at the whim of the courts and a piece of paper, you're turning the whole idea of democracy on its ear. As I said, you can thank the real organization of our government and ability to make change, that you choose to overlook, for the freedom of most Americans.
on Aug 19, 2006
But, then in the end, you really can't make the point because no matter what triviality you find, the people of the US have the final say, not the courts, and not corpses in their powdered wigs.

Dont tell that to some of the "Professors" out there! They think the SCOTUS can overturn amendments! At least the ones in NC are so stupid.
on Aug 19, 2006
I just think the whole point here is self-defeating. The blogger is dismissing the congress in favor of the courts who interpret our constitutional rights. Oddly, these "rights" are drafted and amended by the congress that the blogger is dismissing.

So, duh, frankly. If Bush wants to adjust the laws of the US, he speak to the people in charge of... adjusting the laws of the US. Namely citizens through their representatives. I find it nauseating that the practice of doing an end-run around the voters through the courts has become so cemented that people actually believe the courts determine what our rights are.

Does that clear this up? The laws in question aren't regarding the "rights" of people, they are in reference to restrictions put on the executive branch after Watergate. It seems pretty straightforward that Bush would deal with the people who make laws when he wants laws changed, right?
on Aug 19, 2006
Baker, you're right. I should research it more. If it's laws he wants changed, then he should go to Congress. But then, what was declared unconstitutional? Actions can't be declared unconstitutional because of a law... only because of the constitution. It doesn't make any sense anymore.
on Aug 19, 2006
P.S. If you take the time to read the judgment and the language the judge uses, I think an objective person will see a serious slant there. I don't see why people think this ruling is a big deal, they'll just appeal it in higher courts anyway.

I also wish the blogger would also point out what terrorists have been set free because of "unconstitutional help". If the US government wants to wiretap foreign terrorists, they shouldn't have to stop listening when a US citizen calls them. Given that most people don't even realize this has to do with FOREIGN wiretaps, and just believe what they read in opinion pieces and activist literature, there's little chance it will be understood.

"But then, what was declared unconstitutional? Actions can't be declared unconstitutional because of a law... only because of the constitution. It doesn't make any sense anymore"

The judge is going on the idea that any governmental power that isn't spelled out by the constitution is in question if it appears to violate the rights of citizens. Now, you and I both know how subjective the idea of "rights" are. The way Congress can help the president is by spelling out this procedure legislatively. Then the courts would either accept it, or weigh it against the constitution and decide again. It would at least be an act that wasn't made up out of thin air, which seems to be the main argument.

In the end, it is always going to come back to the voting public and their representatives, though. The courts don't rule us, we rule ourselves. I'm not saying that the people of the US would vote for this, though I think they'd like it more if they were really informed and not just going on hearsay. In the end, though, what they say is what is important, and their representatives are in Congress, not the courts.