Thursday, January 15, 2009

Don't Believe the Lies: Court did NOT Absolve Bush

The overarching lie used to falsely justify all of George Bush's domestic crimes, war crimes and treason is that of unlimited presidential authority.

Never mind Article One Congressional powers, never mind Separation of Powers, never mind Constitutional limits on the executive, for eight years it's been "because I'm the president and I said so!"

Thus he justified: breaking treaties, ignoring bin Laden and allowing 9/11, launching an illegal invasion, wiretapping and spying on innocent citizens, torture, rendition, detention and every other way he could imagine to shred the Constitution and shit diarrhea all over the remnants.

Now Smirky/Darth's slimy apologists are claiming a FISA Court decision has endorsed Bush's "if the president does it it's not illegal" theory.

Bullshit, as Steve Benen explains.

There's been some talk today that the FISA court has endorsed the notion that the president has the authority to engage in warrantless wiretaps. That's not what happened today, and the details matter.


The decision has nothing to do with the president's inherent authority, and everything to do with Congress' ability to shape surveillance law, giving the White House far more authority than it was previously allowed.

Put another way, the case was about the legality of the Protect America Act. It cleared the court's examination. But as A.L. explained, this doesn't lend "credence" to the administration's legal arguments at all.

Quite the contrary. From the moment the NSA program was first disclosed in December of 2005, the issue has always been whether the president has the "inherent authority" to disregard a statute like FISA that purports to place restrictions on his ability to conduct surveillance of Americans. The Bush administration claimed it had such powers, despite overwhelming legal authority to the contrary. When Congress passed the Protect America Act, it statutorily authorized the President's subsequent surveillance activities, assuming he stays within the rather wide confines of that law. The court here has merely upheld Congress's prerogative to pass such a law.

There's nothing here that lends any credence whatsoever to claims of law-breaking authority made by the Bush administration over the last few years.

Several far-right blogs insisted today that Bush has been "vindicated" and was "right all along." That's simply not what happened.

Read the whole thing.

Cross-posted at They Gave Us A Republic ....