Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Oy, watching CNN makes me want to stab my eyes out. Toensing was on bringing up the case of the Aldrich Ames case and saying that because Jamie Gorelick argued that the president had the inherent authority that it's just what Bush did.

For the record I don't think a warrantless search was a desirable thing for Clinton to do, but as Toensing of course knows at that time there was no specific statute covering such things. It led to the expansion of FISA to cover physical searches, and the Clinton administration never aruged that they were not bound by the requirements of the expanded FISA authority. They just argued that since there was a statutory gap the executive had the right. Once that gap was closed, they followed the law.

That is the fundamental issue here - not what the president should and shouldn't be allowed to do with respect to searches, warrantless or not, but whether or not the Bush administration believes they have the right to explicitly break the law. They said they can, they have been, and will continue to do so. That's the issue.

Shorter version:

Clinton said there's no law covering this so we can do this. Congress passes law covering such circumstances. Clinton administration (presumably) follows law and never claims they have the right to not follow the law.

Bush administration situation covered by existing law. Decide they don't want to follow it. Realize Congress won't change law to make them happy. Decide they have Divine Right to explicitly break law. Gives speech saying how proud he was to have broken law.

There is a civil liberties issue, and we can have that debate too, but this is about President Bush willfully and intentionally committing multiple felonies.