Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Specter May Enforce the Law

(Really, it's a sad post title, isn't it? Such are the times we live in... )

In a recent post I wrote about a chilling, infuriating move by GOP lawmakers to obstruct judicial review of the illegal NSA eavesdropping program. However, with a new bill co-sponsored with Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), it appears Arlen Specter (R-PA) may have regained his soul after all by enforcing existing FISA law. This is extremely heartening. As with the previous post, I’m drawing on the invaluable work of Glenn Greenwald, who reports this latest development here. As Greenwald notes in his updates, Specter characteristically equivocates in his statements about the bill, which really merely reinforces existing law. The real test for Specter (as for many a politician) is always his actions.

While this new bill is merely common sense, and enforcing a sensible and successful law should never be a radical move, Specter deserves immense credit if he does the right thing and fights for its passage. This should not be a partisan issue. It’s possible that even if the bill becomes law, Bush will continues to break it, thus forcing the Constitutional showdown he’s been working to avoid (the showdown may come sooner than that anyway, with other challenges in the works). It's important in such a showdown that Congress chooses the right side: The Constitution over any political party.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Feinstein-Specter legislation isn't heartening at all. FISA itself is an unconstitutional law. It's never been challenged, and it must be. Where did any American ever get the idea that you can set up a secret court where a defendant's own lawyer can't get access to the charges and evidence against his client? Jimmy Carter was out of his mind to have allowed such a thing to happen.