Friday, August 18, 2006

"yesterday was a landmark in the effort to protect our civil liberties"

Representative John Conyers, Jr. on Judge Diggs' ruling:
As you probably have heard, yesterday was a landmark in the effort to protect our civil liberties from the Administration's ever increasing power. A federal judge in Detroit ruled that the warrantless eavesdropping conducting by the NSA was unconstitutional, a conclusion shared by the vast majority of legal scholars outside of the Bush Administration.

However, I am concerned about how some of the press is reporting on the decision. Compare the New York Times with the Washington Post. The President has been struck down again for overreaching in the so-called war on terror without a legal basis, yet the Washington Post editorial board dismisses this monumental moment to complain about style over substance.

In fact, they acuse Judge Diggs of being "long on throat clearing sound bites." They go on to cite only two sentences. Yes, two sentences out of 44 pages. As a lawyer myself, and ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, I can assure the editorial board that most judges use rhetoric and it has nothing to do with the strength of their legal reasoning.

I am also surprised that after clearly denouncing the program as illegal as early as January of this year, and noting how tenuous the Administration's arguments were, that they are now surprised to hear a judge agree. Suddenly, the fight over illegal wiretaps is no longer "frivolous."

Of course the government "vigorously disputes" the ruling. That is the definition of litigation and does not confer merit to their argument.

And they could vigorously dispute that the sky is blue. It doesn't mean that the Washington Post has to report on it or give it so much merit just for trying to appear fair and balanced.

Representative John Conyers, Jr. was re-elected in November 2002 to his nineteenth term in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is the second most senior member of the House and was re-elected by his Congressional Colleagues to remain the first African-American Democratic Leader of the pivotal House Committee on the Judiciary. Congressman Conyers is also a founding member and Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus. Most recently, he led efforts to investigate irregularities in the Ohio presidential election.

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