Power Grab

Exactly which Branch of our Government is overreaching?
Depending on the circumstance, and one’s personal opinion, we could point to any one of them.

Is the Congress the Branch that is making the Power Grab?

During the Roberts and Alito hearings we were reminded of how many years these nominees could be seated on the bench.
'It's a lifetime appointment. He could be there more than 30 years. We have to be careful who we vote for because this could change the direction of the Nation.' - said by more than one and came from BOTH sides.
To me that was amusing to hear, coming from those that have been in office for at least that many years. The same politicians who have sat on the Judicial Committee and voted on 19, 20 .... nominees.
The same people who have used their own influence to make policy in our nation for there entire adult lives. (Be careful who you vote for...they could be in office for decades, they may change. Voting out an incumbent is nearly impossible, no matter what they do. The longer they are there the more seniority they have, and the more pork they can bring home.)
Have they ever considered drawing names out of a hat for the committee?

There seems to be something wrong with Politicians making an appointment when it effects a seat that is NOT supposed to be 'political'.
They assume everyone is just as political as they are and cannot make decisions without their political ideology entering in.
Finding out how a judge goes about making a decision is no longer good enough. Being one of the smartest people available is not acceptable. Being unanimously accepted by the ABA is no longer a 'gold standard'.

* "White House spokesman Scott McClellan noted the rating and said that “leading Senate Democrats have said in the past that the ABA rating is the 'gold standard' for evaluating judicial nominees,” according to the White House transcript of Wednesday's press briefing."

Other than naming the nominee, Congress has ALL the power when determining the 'direction' of the Supreme Court.

On to the wiretapping issue...

The Congress is very upset with the President. There have been comments made accusing our President of 'Wiretapping U.S. Citizens without warrants.'
Members of Congress were briefed on the program. It was not a complete secret. There was a leak and now members of Congress are concerned because the spotlight is shining on them also.

The thing about the warrants...
The eavesdropping can be done before the warrant is issued.
So.... If a phone call is intercepted, determined to be innocent, and the eavesdropping stops ... is there still a need to pursue a warrant?
When law enforcement is trying to catch a major drug dealer they follow the lower level dealers up the chain to the main source of the drugs.
Would this method not work the same with following the phone calls made between known Al Queda members and those they speak to on the phone?
Just as a low level drug dealer that is being watched does not always go directly to their 'provider', an Al Queda operative will make phone calls to others who have nothing to do with a possible attack inside the U.S. ...

I'm sure someone can help me with these...
Statements made by Members of Congress basically said - 'If the President had just come to us first, we would most likely have given him the power to run the eavesdropping program.'
And...
I know I've heard some of our lawmakers complain about the S.C. shooting down laws they pass. Comments like: 'If they didn't like the law the way it was written, they could have come to us and we would have made the necessary changes to make it work.'

So what difference does it make?
If Congress can change or pass a law at whim to fit a particular situation ...

Politicians are mad because the President didn't ask them for the 'power' ...
Now there have to be hearings. By claiming to protect us from possible violations of our civil liberties, information may come out that will hurt our governments efforts in protecting our lives. Civil Liberties won't mean much if we are dead. ....and Democrats accuse the Bush administration of using the 'Politics of Fear'.
The lawyers in Congress and the ABA are concerned that the balance of power is not balanced.
I'm concerned about our Nation being controlled solely by lawyers. Especially lawyers with a political ideology - on either side.

Issues are not always 'Blue or Red' - 'Left or Right'.

The fear I have is what will happen to our Nation if our leaders continue to run our Nation into the ground with the rhetoric coming from BOTH sides of the aisle.
Being decidedly on the left or right of an issue leaves out a whole lot of people who are able to see both sides.
Those that want our leaders to find a way to come to agreements on issues are the ones who are being 'disenfranchised'.
That would be the majority of us.

Posted by Dawn at January 26, 2006 8:19 AM
Comments
Comment #117036

ALL three branches are oversteping ther
Constitutional powers. The Executive Branch with it’s wiretaps. The Congressional Branch with it’s telling the Executive Branch what they want in a nominee. The Judicial Branch by making law insted of interpiting it.

Posted by: Ron Brown at January 26, 2006 12:41 PM
Comment #117060

I’m not so sure that the “wiretap” scandal is exactly what is being pushed on us by the media. Those pushing the idea on us claim GW is engaged in “illegal domestic spying”. Defenders of our president say that congress was being informed of the operation long before someone leaked it to the press. No critic of the operation or of the president is refuting that. Seems to me that congress and FISA knew what was going on.

Also, the “secret” court that critics say he should’ve obtained warrants from is the FISA court. FISA = Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. How is it “domestic spying” if it’s under the jurisdiction of the FOREIGN Intelligence Surveillance Act? I suspect that it’s all smoke & mirrors intended on damaging the president’s efforts at the expense of this nation’s security.

However, I agree with Ron when he states the Judicial branch is voilating constitutional authority by engaging in Judicial Activism and that congress is undermining the intention of the constitution by allowing a few members to prevent open votes on issues by filibustering and other delay tactics.

Judges need to look at US laws (not foreign laws or political agendas) to decide right and wrong. If congress does not like the interpretations the judges are forming from the law, they need to pass legislation to address it.

We got into this mess because factions in congress couldn’t pass legislation to advance their agenda, so they sought judges to find even the thinnest of connections to concoct precidents based on foreign law and non-mainstream ideologies.

We need legislators to create laws and judges to apply the law as written.

Posted by: Rich at January 26, 2006 1:18 PM
Comment #117091

“If a phone call is intercepted, determined to be innocent, and the eavesdropping stops … is there still a need to pursue a warrant?”

BINGO Dawn.
That is why it is best for the courts to determine what is or is not legal.

Until ALL the facts are known, all this “spying on Americans” talk is nothing but political posturing, based on a hope for defeat and the hatred of a political party.

Posted by: kctim at January 26, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #117143

I think you guys are making the wiretap issue more difficult than it really is. There are only two questions that matter.

1. Does the law say he must get a warrant if he does this wiretap?

2. Did he get the warrant?

It is that simple. If the answer to question 1 is “Yes” and the answer to question 2 is “No” then the President broke the law. If the answers are any different, then he didn’t break the law. That’s brain-dead easy and unassailable logic.

On the Supreme Court appointments….

The difference between a Senator or Congressman being in office for 30 years and a S.C. Justice being in office for 30 years is that once appointed, the S.C. Justice is no longer accountable to the people. Legislators must be continually re-elected.

On a different note, I think that the Senate should stop interview the candidates before they vote. Its a waste of time. If a person hasn’t shown you where they stand by the time they are 50 or 60, they are not worth fooling with.

Posted by: Darrius at January 26, 2006 4:15 PM
Comment #117180

Darrius

It is only simple if you take a particular interpretation of that law and presidential power.

The President has powers granted and implied by the Constitution, as does the Congress. In a case of dispute, politics or the courts decide it. Neither has yet spoken.

The point that Dawn makes is also good. If an intercept is made and found to be American on one side and it is discontinued, do you still need to get a warrant? You clearly do not have to a get a warrant before doing it, even by the FISA standards.

All this will be discussed in the Congress and may go to the courts. I welcome the discussion if it brings clarity.

Re interpretation,

An interpretation of the SC hearing is that if no substantive reason is found to oppose an nominee, the Senate should vote and confirm.

Simple interpretations of complex situations are misleading.

Posted by: Jack at January 26, 2006 4:51 PM
Comment #117271

Dawn:

Statement from your post: “Politicians are mad because the President didn’t ask them for the ‘power’”

You actually believe that? Could the overriding issue just possibly be that “politicians ar angry” because Bush stiff-armed our regular check and balance system (what we call government) and assumed and that to invade privacy to whatever degree he wishes was “ok”?

Whether you believe it or not, that just happened. Now try to imagine your surprise once Bush’s tractics are found to be illegal.


Posted by: Blogical at January 26, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #117521
All this will be discussed in the Congress and may go to the courts.

That’s all I ask, Jack. the problem is, this President and his political party have a habit of obstructing and sidestepping the discussions and oversight. There still hasn’t been a look into how the President used the Iraq intelligence, and President Bush is even blocking attampts to evaluate and fix the faulty response to Hurricane Katrina.

Let’s shed the light of day on these issues so we can get them behind us.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 27, 2006 10:30 AM
Comment #117717

There have been 3 congressional investigations into the Irag intel Bush was supposed to have doctored and nothing was found amiss.That is why you don’t know about them.They are now into a 4th and have found nothing yet,if they had it would have been leaked to the New York Times.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 27, 2006 11:00 PM
Comment #117722

Rich,There has been talk of legislation that would require the bills proposed would name the part of the Constitution that allows the law.For instance,Congress thinks Emminent Domain should allow property to be taken away when what is there doesn’t pay enough taxes.In other words,it’s been one way for 225 years but we need a broader tax base.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 27, 2006 11:12 PM
Comment #117728

Jack,complicating something simple is even more misleading.Dawn,if it is found to be illegal,I will retreat to my room and cry,but,when it is found to be legal,I will not mention it and no one else will either,they will be looking for something else to accuse him of just like they have been since before the 1st time Bush ran for office.

Posted by: RDAVIDC at January 27, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #117854
There have been 3 congressional investigations into the Irag intel Bush was supposed to have doctored and nothing was found amiss.

There hasn’t been a single investigation as to how President Bush used the intelligence he got.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 28, 2006 9:42 AM
Comment #117857

Everyone is forgeting one thing ……. It’s not the American public they’re spying on !!!!

Posted by: bwger at January 28, 2006 9:53 AM
Comment #118078

Yes it is. They’re spying on American citizens.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 29, 2006 3:37 AM
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