If not quite from the grave, the decision by one of Jimmy Carter's judicial appointees, striking down the NSA terrorist surveillance program, was an unwelcome blast from past. Call it Carter's Revenge. Malaise Redux. The spirit of Desert One lives.
That this was a political decision more than a legal one is evidenced by the intemperate language of the opinion itself: "There are no hereditary kings in America," harumphed Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit, in a case filed by the ACLU. [An exception to Taylor's no-hereditary-kings rule: the Sulzberger dynasty that is . . . the New York Times. Hat tip to NB poster Jack Bauer. See details in comments below.]
On Thursday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann bolstered the ruling by Federal Judge Ann Diggs Taylor against the Bush administration's controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Referring to the ruling as a "judicial smackdown" and a "stunning ruling" against the program, Olbermann repeatedly referred to the NSA program as monitoring "our" phone calls or "our" emails. The MSNBC host further contended that since the program was revealed, "anybody who had actually read the Constitution" believed it would eventually be ruled as "patently illegal." Olbermann's guest discussing the topic was liberal law professor Jonathan Turley, who labeled Judge Taylor's ruling as a "very thoughtful opinion" and called efforts by conservatives to discredit her as a liberal Carter appointee as "distasteful." By contrast, CNN and FNC featured guests who questioned Judge Taylor's judicial wisdom. (Transcript follows)
On Thursday, all three network evening newscasts covered the ruling by a federal judge against the Bush administration's controversial NSA spying program that involves warrantless monitoring of international phone calls when one participant is a terrorist suspect. Stemming from a case filed by the ACLU and other plaintiffs, Judge Ann Diggs Taylor, a Carter appointee, found the program to be unconstitutional. Unlike CNN and FNC, which conveyed that the ruling would likely be overturned, none of the network evening newscasts mentioned the liberal credentials of Judge Taylor or the debate over judicial activism and legal weaknesses in the ruling, such as the issue of whether the plaintiffs had standing to file the lawsuit, since the plaintiffs themselves were not found to be the subjects of surveillance. (Transcripts follow)
On 9/11, the occupants of a hotel right across from the WTC flee their rooms. A hotel security guard informs the FBI that in the room-safe of an Egyptian hotel guest, he found an aviation radio. The radio could be used to communicate with airborne pilots.
The Egyptian, Abdallah Higazy, who is attending college in the US, is arrested, and undergoes tough interrogation, including suggestions that his family could be subjected to investigation by Egyptian security. After offering various implausible stories, the Egyptian admits that the radio is his and that he stole it from the Egyptian air force. He is charged with lying to investigators.
A month later, an airline pilot who had been staying in the hotel returns, looking for his radio. Turn out it was his. The security guard who reported having found the radio in the Egyptian's room had lied to the FBI. It was apparently his twisted means of involving himself in the 9/11 story.
Higazy is freed, never having gone to trial, much less having been convicted of a crime.The security guard is charged with lying to the FBI, convicted and given a prison sentence.
Sounds like the American legal system worked pretty well, doesn't it? Not to Bob Herbert of the New York Times. According to his column of this morning, The Tyranny of Fear [subscription required],
"All the authorities have to do nowadays is claim that a case is linked to terror and they can get away with just about anything. The rule of law is succumbing to the tyranny of fear."
On Wednesday's Countdown show, while reporting on a recent Zogby poll which found that more Americans can name two of Snow White's dwarves than can name two of America's Supreme Court justices, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann took the opportunity to joke that Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia are "Dopey and Grumpy." The Countdown host also took a shot at President Bush by bringing up Bush's failure to name world leaders in a pop quiz during an interview with Boston TV journalist Andy Hiller in November 1999, and suggested to comedian Mo Rocca that Bush's lack of knowledge is to blame for "current world affairs." Olbermann: "Can you think of any consequences at all that could have stemmed from that candidate's level of knowledge? Is that being reflected at all in the current world affairs?" (Transcript follows)
Most of the major American media had serious qualms about printing the Mohammed cartoons a while back. No major newspaper did as far as I can remember.
None of them seemed particularly outraged over a particularly vile cartoon by Wiley Miller, the creator of the syndicated strip Non Sequitur, which implied that Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia wants to enslave black Americans, and more specifically, his court colleague Clarence Thomas. (HT: Betsy Newmark)
With its editorial of this morning, Justice After Guantanamo, the Los Angeles Times has raised the bar when it comes to expressing exquisite sensitivity for the rights of accused terrorists. The Times waxes indignant that in trials of Gitmo denizens the Bush administration favors - brace yourself - the admission of hearsay evidence. Send in the smelling salts.
Says the Times:
"New draft legislation to bring the military commissions established by the administration into compliance with a Supreme Court decision borrows heavily from the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That's the good news. The bad news is that on some issues — particularly the use of hearsay and evidence obtained by coercive or inhumane interrogation — the administration still clings to the notion that the end justifies the means."
The Andrea Yates jury spent 36 days listening to testimony and argument, trying to get inside the mind of a woman who had drowned her five children. But with just one sentence, ABC's Chris Cuomo accorded us a stunning look inside the mind of a certified MSMer: sympathy first, last and always for the accused.
Somebody please tell me what is funny or - more importantly - true about this cartoon.
Is this really the view of Dan Wasserman and by extension the paper that employs him - the Boston Globe? Do Wasserman and the Globe really believe that, in his heart, President George W. Bush is a torture-master of medieval proportions? Do they truly think that only international agreements and court decisions stand between him and the barbarous flaying of prisoners?
The cartoon is presumably referencing a recent Supreme Court decision that ruled against the administration's use of military tribunals for the trial of Gitmo detainees.
MRC intern Chadd Clark found that CNN had the same old pattern of centering the day's big state court decisions on "gay marriage" as a ruling for "proponents" first. This report aired Thursday in the 4 pm hour of "The Situation Room." Perhaps the newspapers were merely copying from the CNN stylebook. Or maybe it's the GLAAD stylebook.
John King: "Moving on, though. Proponents of gay marriage are reeling today from a one-two legal punch. Courts in Georgia and in New York State issued new rulings now having an impact on the culture wars. CNN's Allan Chernoff has more from New York. Hi, Allan."
Just as the New York Times firmly centered its coverage of so-called "gay marriage" decisions from state courts on the gay left's horror, The Washington Post report from Amy Goldstein also presented the issue first and foremost as a question of how "gay rights advocates" felt:
The highest courts of New York and Georgia ruled yesterday that same-sex couples are not entitled to marry, delivering a twin blow to gay rights advocates that leaves Massachusetts as the only state in which such unions are legal.
As usual, the story is illustrated by a photo of gay activists, as it almost always is. Gay media theorists used to protest that their problem was "invisibility," but now, it's the social conservative activists that almost never get their picture in the paper when the story is gay "civil rights." Perhaps the most classic Goldstein paragraph is the one where she describes the great ideological battle on this issue, between conservatives and liberals -- oops, make that advocates of "civil rights."
Today's New York Times leads off with a local story with national ramifications, a 4-2 defeat of gay marriage in the Court of Appeals of New York, the state's highest court.
Anemona Hartocollis reports:
"New York's highest court rejected yesterday a broad attempt by gay and lesbian couples across the state to win the right to marry under state law, saying that denying marriage to same-sex couples does not violate the State Constitution.
"By a 4-2 majority, the Court of Appeals found that the State Legislature, in laws dating back nearly 100 years, intended to limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman, and that the Legislature had a rational basis for doing so."
Did you hear that sound on Thursday, June 29? That was millions of conservatives gasping in horror when the Supreme Court issued its Hamdan v. Rumsfeld decision seemingly giving the Bush administration a stunning defeat over terrorist detention centers at Guantanamo Bay.
Irrespective of such justifiable concerns, when combined with another leak by the New York Times of a counterterrorism program just six days prior, Republicans were actually handed a tremendous gift dramatically improving their chances to hold both chambers of Congress in the November elections.
When America marches off to war, do we want lawyers on the front line? OK, I can already hear the thunderous response: 'Yes! Put those tassel-loafered shysters out there as cannon fodder!" But Jim Pinkerton, conservative columnist at Newsday and TCS, was making a more profound point this morning when he and Ellen Ratner of Talk Radio News made their 'Long & Short' appearance on Fox & Friends Weekend.
The subject was the recent Supreme Court ruling that it is impermissible to subject Gitmo prisoners to military tribunals. In fairness, short-'n-liberal Ellen Ratner did stop short of suggesting they should have full US-style trials. But she predictably applauded the ruling, advocating significantly expanded due process for the detainees.
The Today show had many important subjects to discuss today, issues such as examining the details of Star Jones’ firing from The View in excruciating detail. However, co-host Campbell Brown did manage to squeeze in a quick interview with Senator John McCain on the Supreme Court’s military tribunal ruling. The segment, which aired at 7:07AM EDT, featured the typical media employment of leading questions and suggestions that "many" people believe Guantanamo Bay should be shut down. In this "balanced" question, Brown wondered what effect the ruling would have on President Bush’s other anti-terrorism policies:
New Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito broke a tie Monday in a ruling that affirmed a state death penalty law and also revealed the court's deep divisions over capital punishment.
What the AP hypes about Alito’s vote is wrong. Alito didn’t break a tie. His was one of five votes cast by the majority of justices who upheld the Kansas law. Alito’s vote no more “broke a tie” than did the vote of any of the other four justices who formed the majority. And the AP knows that.
In today’s terror-stricken world, which is more vital to the public’s interest: being safe, or being informed?
This very question has come before the management of the New York Times twice in the past six months. On both occasions, even though it went completely contrary to the national security requests of the White House, their conclusion was that ignorance is indeed not bliss.
Sadly, it appears that the Times doesn’t agree with the old maxim “Tis better to be safe than sorry,” for on June 23, in what is starting to become a semi-annual event, the Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning team of Eric Lichtblau and James Risen disclosed to America and her enemies the existence of another highly classified national security program designed to identify terrorist activity before it occurs.
In this case, since shortly after 9/11, the Central Intelligence Agency has been working with a Belgian international banking cooperative called the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. SWIFT provides
As this op-ed column from today's Los Angeles Times illustrates, the MSM and the left-dominated American academy continue to side, in the name of 'human rights', against measures designed to protect us from another 9/11 and with those who might potentially do us harm.
Author David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University and volunteer attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights, was co-counsel to the plaintiffs in Turkmen vs. Ashcroft. He condemns the district court ruling in that case, which, as described in this article from Jurist, held:
In an astounding ruling by a Nebraska District Judge Kristine Cecava, a child sex offender is given ten years of probation instead of jail time. The reason - the judge believes that the child sex offender is too short for prison!
Convicted child sex offender, Richard W. Thompson, is reported to be only a 5-foot-1 man and the judge fears that he will not be safe in prison.
This is just another outrageous example of a judge who has lost all common sense. Did the judge consider the height of the child who Richard W. Thompson violated sexually? Apparently, not!
Instead, once again, an innocent child of sexual abuse is denied true justice because a demented judge has more regard for the safety of the predator.
District Judge Kristine Cecava also decided that Thompson would only be electronically monitored for the first four months of his ten year probation, and she told the child predator to stay away from using pornography and contacting under age children.
Prosecutors believe they have DNA evidence to tie a third Duke lacrosse player to the alleged attack on a 27-year-old exotic dancer, news outlets in Durham reported Thursday.
The local ABC affiliate, citing sources, reported that the third player is the same person who was identified with "90 percent" certainty by the alleged victim in a photo lineup. That lineup was conducted by police weeks after the March 13 off-campus lacrosse team party where the alleged incident took place.
Advice to any Republican loyalists planning to watch a replay of this evening's Hardball: hide the sharp objects, put the firearms under lock and key, flush any potentially poisonous potions. With lovely-but-lethal Norah O'Donnell sitting in for Chris Matthews, this might have been the most unrelenting gloom-a-thon since Watergate. Riffing off the latest polls showing W at 33%, it was one guest after another - from Bob Shrum to Kate O'Beirne to a panel of "hotshots" - painting a decidedly unrosy scenario. And just when things couldn't get any more dread, a former Clinton administration official popped in to predict millions might die from bird flu thanks to government inattention "in recent years."
Kudos to CNN reporter Drew Griffin for reporting on a potential Democratic scandal that the majority of the mainstream media seems to have ignored. Griffin highlighted allegations that liberal Democratic Congressman John Conyers violated House ethics rules by ordering members of his staff to perform such non-official duties as tutoring and baby-sitting his children. These complaints of rules violations were filed against Conyers, the powerful ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, by former members of his staff. Griffin reported:
"What this is about, Soledad, is ethics on Capitol Hill and who is and who is not doing anything to investigate when members of Congress are accused themselves of violating the rules. What we found out is former staff members of Congressman John Conyers of Detroit had been complaining about him for years. One says she was expected to baby-sit the boss’ kids for weeks at a time."
Mark Levin's radio show began with a cannon blast at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who claimed in a recent speech that threats against her life from the "irrational fringe" are encouraged by congressional Republican and conservative criticism of the court. (See all the rhetorical highlights on Levin's NRO blog.) AP reporter Gina Holland wrote up Justice Ginsburg's speech with energetic emphasis on Ginsburg's thesis that conservative criticism apparently/inevitably leads to violence:
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor have been the targets of death threats from the "irrational fringe" of society, people apparently spurred by Republican criticism of the high court.
It's not exactly news to the GOP base that John McCain is not one of them. But it was perhaps noteworthy to hear Chris Matthews, ostensibly a McCain man [at least when it comes to his preference among Republican presidential hopefuls], acknowledge that fact on this evening's Hardball. He might also have raised eyebrows on the other side of the aisle by ripping Democrats for their weakness on illegal immigration.
Speaking of the issues that were stressed at this past weekend's Republican coffee klatsch in Memphis, Matthews stated "all I heard was . . . no gay marriage, immigration - lock it up, stop illegals - keep cutting taxes and keep appointing conservative justices."
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann highlighted recent comments by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, delivered during a speech at Georgetown University, seemingly directed at such conservatives as Tom DeLay and President Bush for some of their criticisms of the judiciary, criticisms which O'Connor argued put America's government at risk of heading toward dictatorship. Olbermann, who has several times compared the state of post-9/11 civil liberties in America to George Orwell's novel 1984, began his show seeming to trumpet the boost in credibility afforded to this comparison when a Supreme Court justice raises similar concerns: "It's one thing for us to throw around references to what seemed to be details from George Orwell's novel 1984 springing to life, thanks to post-9/11 thinking. It's quite another when the same kind of comments come from a just-retired justice of the U.S. Supreme Court..." Olbermann also compared actions by Republicans to those in communist countries that had "allowed dictatorships to flourish." Guest Mike Allen of Time magazine later gushed with hope that Olbermann's attention to the matter would inspire greater coverage of O'Connor's comments and "launch a thousand op-eds." (Complete transcript follows.)
It’s a question that has been asked many times: If Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fell asleep during a case, would the media notice? The answer, apparently, is no. On March 1, the Supreme Court heard arguments on the constitutionality of a Texas redistricting plan. One only has to look at the accompanying graphic to see how exciting Justice Ginsburg found the case. FNC correspondent Megyn Kendall reported it this way on Wednesday's Special Report:
"It is one of the biggest redistricting cases the high court has heard in years, but the special two hour argument proved less then compelling to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who at times appeared to be, well, asleep.
The Times finds the burgeoning property rights movement (set in motion by the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Kelo vs. New London upholding a broad interpretation of eminent domain) worthy of a Tuesday front-page story by John Broder, “States Curbing Right to Seize Private Homes.”
That negative headline reads as if the paper takes for granted that overturning property rights is something a government has a right to do, a “right” that’s now at risk of being “curbed.”
As Matt Welch noted in Reason Magazine after the eminent domain decision was handed down, the Times editorial page was one of the few and definitely the most enthusiastic supporters of the 5-4 decision upholding a Connecticut town’s right to condemn private homes to make way for private development. The chilly title of the Times editorial: “The Limits of Property Rights.”
The mention of Sam Alito voting "Catholic ticket" on the Supreme Court reminds me that Greg Pierce summarized a new magazine article in his "Inside Politics" column in the Washington Times this week. When President Clinton appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court, there obviously wasn't any concern of them voting on a "Jewish ticket." Their religion was rarely discussed -- in fact, most might be surprised at how little their nominations were discussed at the time. But Ginsburg ostentatiously displays her objection to the "outrageous" anti-abortion sermon she could hear at the Catholic "Red Mass" held ceremonially before each term of the Supreme Court:
Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., who has been widely praised for his intellect and integrity but both admired and assailed for his conservative judicial philosophy, was confirmed today as the 110th justice in the history of the Supreme Court.
A few paragraphs down we read:
The vote is also a triumph for the conservative movement, whose adherents have longed to tilt the balance of the court to the right.
The Times continues to use the “conservative” label throughout the story. Examples:
Legal scholars have described (Alito’s) jurisprudence as … solidly conservative. …
Tonight President Bush will deliver his annual State of the Union Address, and Harry Smith of the "Early Show" previewed the speech this morning. Smith interviewed Dan Bartlett, Counselor to the President in the 7:00 half hour and Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) in the 7:30 half hour. There were stark differences in the tone Smith took with each of his guests, and in the amount of time allotted to each. Bartlett was on the program for only 3 minutes, and fielded 3 questions, while Senator Kennedy was given 7 minutes to answer four, two of which related to the passing of Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Following a routine introduction of Dan Bartlett, Harry Smith asked some tough questions which in itself is not bias, but when that is combined with the negative tone that was taken and compared to the way Senator Kennedy was treated, it raises questions about fairness. The following are Smith’s questions for Bartlett.