NSA Review Must Include the Supreme Court
It looks like the White House and the Senate are on the verge of brokering a deal that would ensure that the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's controversial domestic surveillance program is evaluated by the special secret intelligence courts established as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That's a good first step. But this judicial review will only be meaningful if the final say on the program's legitimacy is determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to this morning's New York Times' piece by Eric Lichtblau (which I can't link to for you), "if the [FISA] court were to rule the program unconstitutional, the attorney general could refine and submit it or, conversely, appeal the decision to the FISA appellate court and ultimately, perhaps the Supreme Court..." But what if the FISA court initially declares the program constitutional? How then does the case get out of the FISA system and into the regular court process? It is not at all clear that it does-- and that is a fundamental flaw in the proposal, negotiated by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.).
The NSA program represents a vast expansion of presidential power and a huge intrusion upon constitutional privacy rights. As government action goes, it is simply too dramatic, and potentially too pervasive, to be allowed to avoid review by the U.S. Supreme Court. Moreover, if the program is as legally legitimate as the White House contends that it is, Administration officials (and, for that matter, Sen. Specter) ought not be afraid of a Supreme Court review. Finally, only a thumbs-up from the Court is going to satisfy the concerns of millions of Americans who right now are skeptical-- with gusts up to disgusted-- about the idea of the government eavesdropping on telephone calls without a warrant.
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Posted by: Daniel Millstone | July 14, 2006 10:31 AM
Posted by: MC | July 14, 2006 11:44 AM
Posted by: Constitutionalist | July 14, 2006 01:44 PM
Posted by: hello ordinary folks with little or no ability | July 15, 2006 08:15 PM
Posted by: | July 15, 2006 08:27 PM
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