2006/06/12

Time To Revoke That War Powers Resolution

This morning the first arguments in ACLU vs. NSA, the recent suit attempting to stop illegal domestic surveillance authorized by Bu$hCo after 9/11, will be heard by U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor. The importance of this case cannot be understated, as the ACLU is arguing for an immediate halt to the program on constitutional grounds.

Predictably, the administration is making it's defense using two, possibly shaky, arguments. First, they argue that the case cannot go forward because it might reveal state secrets. Second, regardless of how Judge Taylor rules on the secrets issue, the DoJ argues that Congress authorized the President to use force against al Qaeda with it's war powers resolution of Sept. 12th, 2001.

So...setting aside whether or not domestic surveillance in violation of FISA 78 constitutes "use of force against al Qaeda," there seems to be a simple way to fix Bu$hCo's little red wagon: Congress should revoke their authorization and in doing so deprive the administration of the argument that they've used to defend everything from illegal surveillance to indefinite detention and torture of detainees. In addition, once revoked, the issue of revealing state secrets will no longer be relevant as the administration will be in explicit violation of the will of Congress and the law.

Sounds to me like the first task for a newly elected Democratic Congress.

12 Comments:

The irony, if you will, of this mess is that Bush has been in violation of the same since invading Iraq without the consent of Congress or UN approval... Right?
TPM, that's very true, but I'm looking at this in a more practical sense. Bush claims the resolution as authorization and presumably isn't going to change course just cause Congress investigates, right? That being the case, just yank the authorization and leave no room for debate.

I suspect that both you and I agree that Bu$hCo would then immediately switch their argument to a "Congress may not infringe on presidential authority defending the country," but at least it would be hammered home how self-serving and dangerous Bu$hCo is.
I guess you can expect a rash of fringe legislation now, out of shear desperation.
As you suggest, these should not survive longer than a change in majority.
The ACLU had a town meeting last nite online and John Dean was a participant. They will be putting up the video of it on their site sometime today. The subject was of course the wiretapping/spying case. anyone wants the link I can put it up..
Cartledge, well you are right. There are probably going to be many attempts to codify into law the Bu$hCo's excesses.

Dusty, please do. I'd like to hear what was said. At least one rumor I heard indicated that Judge Taylor is inclinded to rule against the government.
Kvatch: I heard the same about Judge Taylor, but at this point, nothing would shock me. I'm sure the latest screeds against Judge Taylor will be that she is some "crazy, liberal activist judge" that must be stopped! Judge Taylor should have 24 hr bodyguards lest an "unexpected" accident should suddenly befall her.
As soon as we yank funding we will be hit harder than the first time...by...someone...stay afraid, be compliant, big brother loves you.

Mccs1977
Even with a Democratic majority in Congress, I don't think enough Dems would have the spine to revoke the war powers resolution.
Abi, you're probably right, but I'm still hopeful. As I said above I'm concerned about attempts to codify the excesses before we can undo the damage.

Tina, heard anything about how it went?
revoking war powers sounds like a good idea to me...and lets bring the troops home too while we are at it.
I had that same thought a while back, tho mine was an amendment of the AUMF. Since the Bush administration kept hanging their defense on it, saying among other things that Congress "unknowingly" gave them the authority to conduct warrantless wiretapping, why not just admend the AUMF. It is a law that can be amended as far as I am aware in my layman's knowledge of the law. Why not simply amend it to say that this authorization was never intended to be a repealment of any existings laws.

Of course, even if Congress amended or even repealed the AUMF, Bush would just tack on a signing statement telling Congress it can go Cheney itself.
Of course, even if Congress amended or even repealed the AUMF, Bush would just tack on a signing statement telling Congress it can go Cheney itself.

And therein is the problem that would involve the courts.

...and lets bring the troops home too while we are at it.

I'm all for that, Windspike.

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