Friday, August 18, 2006

Froomkin with coverage of the NSA judicial decision

In his column today, "The White Palace," always with the sharp eye for the key aspects of a story:
Here's the text of the ruling, which includes the following primer on the Constitution:

"Article II of the United States Constitution provides that any citizen of appropriate birth, age and residency may be elected to the Office of President of the United States and be vested with the executive power of this nation.

"The duties and powers of the Chief Executive are carefully listed, including the duty to be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and the Presidential Oath of Office is set forth in the Constitution and requires him to swear or affirm that he 'will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'

"The Government appears to argue here that, pursuant to the penumbra of Constitutional language in Article II, and particularly because the President is designated Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, he has been granted the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, itself.

"We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all 'inherent powers' must derive from that Constitution."
Don't you just love that rebuke to Bush? And Froomkin includes some additional comment on the ruling that's worth noting:
Glenn Greenwald writes in Salon: "It is important to be clear about what this decision means and what it does not mean -- particularly since the White House, among others, is already depicting this ruling as some sort of epic blow to the administration's efforts to fight terrorism. This ruling does not, of course, prohibit eavesdropping on terrorists; it merely prohibits illegal eavesdropping in violation of FISA."
And here's the kicker to me:
Kenneth R. Bazinet writes in the New York Daily News: " 'This is a bad situation that just got worse for the White House,' said George Washington University scholar Jonathan Turley.

" 'These crimes could constitute impeachable offenses,' said Turley, who was an ally to independent counsel Kenneth Starr during the probe that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton."
Turley has been one of the most vocal critics of the questionable Bush legal strategy, and this about says it all, doesn't it? He's come a long way since his days of calling for Clinton's impeachment and is a frequent guest on Olbermann...