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Friday, April 07, 2006
Gonzales's Trial Balloon - Get Out the Pins
When one branch of the federal government launches a concerted effort to expand its power relative to the other two, it becomes the responsibility of those other branches to push back. For there is, ultimately, no other recourse against a determined effort at aggrandizement.

In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, reported by the Washington Post Attorney General Gonzales laid down a marker on the question of whether the administration would have the right to engage in warrantless wiretapping of purely domestic phone calls - "I'm not going to rule it out" he said.

This comment seems to take the form of a trial balloon - to stake a claim with ambiguous language that could, if necessary, be reeled back in. If left unchallenged however, it forms a base of precedent for a stronger argument in the future.

We all recall in weeks past, when Gonzales tried to justify the warrantless wiretapping of international calls to and from this country, that he, and the supporters of the administration, made valiant efforts to assure us that the issue was only one in which parties on American soil were (possibly) communicating with terrorists abroad. Even this, of course, is contrary to the clear dictates of the law (without a warrant), but we were constantly assured that our everyday communications were not subject to such intrusions.

Either these arguments were disingenuous, or we should soon be hearing some push-back, even from some Republicans - at least those who retain some reverence for the Fourth Amendment (breath-holding not advised). This is certainly a challenge that needs a response from the Democrats - but even more fundamentally, from the legislative and judicial branches as a whole.

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1 Comments on "Gonzales's Trial Balloon - Get Out the Pins"
Amendment IV: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrents shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Which branch of the government will push back?

The recent appointments to the supreme court (Roberts and Alito) leaves the judiciary in question.

With elections around the corner in Nov 2006, perhaps the legislative branch will push back - but only if there is a tremendous public outcry such that incumbants worry about their re-election bids.

Trial ballon or not, this reach by the executive branch is outrageous! Come on people - Stand up and let congress know that warrantless wiretapping of purely domestic phone calls is unacceptable!

Anonymous Anonymous @ Sat Apr 08, 09:00:00 AM EDT  
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