Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Lawbreaker in Chief

This is must read stuff from WIRED by the executive director of the Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society. Start with the first two sentences:
Ignorance of the law is no defense. Someone should tell the president.
Ouch! Guess that applies to the Vice President and the Attorney General, too?

Here are the final two paragraphs of the piece:
Until recently, Congress and the courts have been open-minded about the administration's arguments in light of recent terrorist attacks and the nation's enduring war in Iraq. But that pattern of deference is about to change. The Senate, at least temporarily, has suspended debate on reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act, perhaps out of concern that the administration doesn't plan on following whatever rules Congress puts in place. Republican Sen. John McCain has pushed his anti-torture bill over strong administration objections. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that citizens detained in Guantanamo are entitled to lawyers and some due process. As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote in last year's opinion in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, "a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens."

I think that 2006 will be a time when we look back on this surveillance with a clearer eye -- one that takes in these violations, the lack of due process at Guantanamo and the government's sanctioning of torture as illegal acts. In that light, recent administration speeches are less justifications of government policy than they are admissions of guilt.
You owe it to yourself to read the entire piece.

Anyone hear any member of our state's Congressional delegation speak out in favor of protecting our civil liberties in the past week or so? The silence is deafening!

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