Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government Privacy United States News Politics

Congress Tries To Strip Power From Anti-Wiretap Judge 332

Posted by Soulskill
from the excellent-use-of-taxpayer-dollars dept.
palegray.net writes "Congress is attempting to strip US District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of his power following his ruling against the government regarding immunity for telecoms in the NSA wiretapping case. Walker was appointed to the bench by President Bush, and has attempted to enforce existing prohibitions against warrantless wiretapping. From the Wired article: 'Walker, the chief judge of the Northern District of California, affirmed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is the exclusive legal method for conducting surveillance inside the United States against suspected spies and [terrorists]. The Bush Administration argues that Congress's vote to authorize military force against Al Qaeda and the president's inherent war time powers were exceptions to the exclusivity provision.' The article makes the observation that Congress seems to be having difficulties bringing itself to enforce the laws that it has previously passed regarding wiretapping, and seems more interesting in silencing opposing viewpoints." Update: 07/06 16:15 GMT by SS: As several readers have noted, the vote would only limit Judge Walker with respect to this particular case. His other responsibilities would be unaffected.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Congress Tries To Strip Power From Anti-Wiretap Judge

Comments Filter:
  • You Americans (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @11:55AM (#24075079)
    You Americans should probably try to e-mail your senator or member of congress regarding this. Mr. Walker seems to be one of the good guys, I'd hate to see him go down.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      You Americans should probably try to e-mail your senator or member of congress regarding this. Mr. Walker seems to be one of the good guys, I'd hate to see him go down.

      Just because someone shows integrity doesn't mean he's one of the good guys.
      Granted, it's rare to see integrity in bad guys, but luckily it happens.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      That is a good way to get put on the watched list as you will be seen as 'un-American'.

      Dark times ahead for us there are.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Duradin (1261418)
      E-mail just gets dumped in the bit bucket. You have to send snail mail with real paper, generally the type that includes the line "pay to the order of" to buy the, err, get the attention of a congresscritter.
      • Re:You Americans (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Buran (150348) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:40PM (#24077095)

        So does snailmail. Congress conveniently set up a huge pit that eats snailmail sent to them and spits it out weeks later, by which time it is no longer relevant. They don't give a shit about their comstituents. They even have responded to messages I've sent them thanking me for my support -- when I'd written in AGAINST the issue at hand!

    • Well you see, if you don't read the email then it does not exist so one needn't act...
    • Re:You Americans (Score:5, Insightful)

      by b4dc0d3r (1268512) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:30PM (#24076171)

      The reason there is no rioting in the streets is:
      1) We mostly have decent jobs
      2) Even if we don't, we have stuff we can do, like watch tv
      3) When the economy is good, we feel unaffected, when it's bad we're just trying to get by
      4) This won't affect our internet, tv, choice of cars, schools for the kids, mortgage or rent, and especially not our back yards.
      5) the price of high-fructose-laden foods

      It looks like more than one reason but it really isn't. Sadly, life is too good right now to be worried about things like our civil rights being eroded.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Hurricane78 (562437)

        Hmm... you know, I just read something about psychology, and this defense mechanism is one of the worst, leading to schizophrenia and living in an illusion. point 1-5 are starting to get drugs you use, as a replacement for the things you are missing deep inside of you.

        The illusion is, that life is too good. In reality it isn't. But you would never allow yourself to accept this, because facing that reality (like: having allowed this cruelties to go on for such a losg time) is so painfully destroying your wor

      • Re:You Americans (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Stew Gots (1310921) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @04:07PM (#24076867)

        It looks like more than one reason but it really isn't.

        What you list is very old knowledge dating at least as far back as the Romans and generally referred to as "bread and circuses". In essence, keep the populace fed and distracted and they won't rebel.

        You miss one very big innovation against dissent in modern America though - the corporate culture. The world of employment - background checks, drug tests, internet searches of what potential (and actual) employees are doing, etc. - puts a whole extra layer of difficulty and fear between citizens and their government. In most states you can be fired for any reason at all and have no legal recourse. That not only chills but deep freezes a lot of free speech and expression. Without laws to curb the corporations democracy, or what is left of it, is ultimately screwed.

        • Re:You Americans (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @05:19PM (#24077465)

          Basically, you are saying the government should have the right to prevent groups from being able to make their own rules and set their own standards for how they are run.

          "Free speech" isn't being able to say whatever you want without any form of repercussions; it's simply the government not jailing or preventing you. Getting fired or losing your girlfriend over what you say or think is just a fact of life, and you trying to change that requires an even greater degree of control over what they exert on you.

          I like you how suddenly make the switch from "employment" to "fear between citizens and government".

          You can be fired for no reason at all and have no recourse? Well, duh, you can quit hiring your maid for no reason at all, too; should she be able to take you to court over you firing her? Some people will fire you over terrible reasons--maybe they are racist, maybe they just don't like you. That's life, and expecting, and wanting, to be coddled just gives someone or something else more power over you because they're the one who puts the foot down.

          If you want control, the person you have to depend on, protect, and think for needs to be yourself primarily.

          • Re:You Americans (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Stew Gots (1310921) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @05:41PM (#24077617)

            Basically, you are saying the government should have the right to prevent groups from being able to make their own rules and set their own standards for how they are run.

            Yes, they are called laws. In the same way that we no longer tolerate allowing 8 yo kids to work 12 shifts in coal mines or allow "groups" to dump toxic waste in the water supply.

            "Free speech" isn't being able to say whatever you want without any form of repercussions; it's simply the government not jailing or preventing you.

            And I am suggesting that political speech protections should be extended to prevent retribution from employers. These protections were less necessary in the past because corporations didn't have such a strangle hold on the government nor were the private actions of citizens so easily tracked. Now both those conditions are all too true and greater protections are required.

            That's life, and expecting, and wanting, to be coddled just gives someone or something else more power over you because they're the one who puts the foot down.

            No, that's life as you apparently are willing to accept it. The many combining forces to fight the powerful few isn't coddling, it's the only viable method of equalizing the situation. You may think you are Rambo however most people are mature enough to know how ridiculous a notion that is.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              Yes, they are called laws. In the same way that we no longer tolerate allowing 8 yo kids to work 12 shifts in coal mines or allow "groups" to dump toxic waste in the water supply.

              Those are absolutely different scenarios than having a person agree to terms upon accepting a job. You aren't owed a job, nor are you owed their money. A fascinating concept.

              And I am suggesting that political speech protections should be extended to prevent retribution from employers. These protections were less necessary in the

    • by Pichu0102 (916292)

      Since when has trying to persuade politicians with anything other than giants piles of money done anything?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dreamchaser (49529)

      You should probably try to RTFA and see that Congress is just going to pass the immunity law which will then take it out of the judge's hands unless the Supreme Court rules against it in the inevitable lawsuit. Yes, he does seem like one of the good guys, and thankfully they aren't doing anything to him. The law that they are going to pass, and trust me they WILL pass it thanks to the telco lobby, takes it out of his and any other judges' hands for the time being.

      No specific action is being taken against

  • ptbob (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ptbob (737777) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @11:57AM (#24075089)
    Sounds like a typical case of "These rules are for other people, not us". Mr Bush seems to like that thought process.
    • Re:ptbob (Score:5, Interesting)

      by v1 (525388) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:20PM (#24075233) Homepage Journal

      Reminds me of Nixon, "I am not a crook!", yes I broke the law but the laws don't apply to The President.

      The Bush Administration argues that Congress's vote to authorize military force against Al Qaeda and the president's inherent war time powers were exceptions to the exclusivity provision.

      So maybe this is why the "war" keeps dragging on and on? As long as we have a war going, he thinks he can do anything he wants? (and is often the case)

      We had a "war" going on with Nixon in the house too. I see a pattern developing.

      • Re:ptbob (Score:5, Interesting)

        by zappepcs (820751) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:29PM (#24075307) Journal

        If it continues, it may not stop until there is a war something like the one we called 'the war between the states' among other things. Where congress has failed I see some states taking issue with the Federal government and making bold steps like several stated declaring gun bans unconstitutional, 33? states refusing Real ID, and several other very bold statements. Several localities have issued warrants for the arrest of the president and vice president. These things are not just funny party stories. It really might take only one argument like the one surrounding this story to set of a chain of events that cannot be undone.

      • That might make sense aside from the fact the war started with France (since it was their colony) and Kennedy took us in there long before Nixon was president.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by v1 (525388)

          Nixon was in no hurry to get us out of the war though, that's the difference. He was taking advantage of the situation, prolonging it for his own benefit.

      • Re:ptbob (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Macrat (638047) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:55PM (#24075473)

        So maybe this is why the "war" keeps dragging on and on? As long as we have a war going, he thinks he can do anything he wants? (and is often the case)

        What do you think the "war" was created for in the first place?

      • Re:ptbob (Score:5, Informative)

        by rpillala (583965) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:06PM (#24075989)

        To complete this pattern you should read A People's History of the United States. Here's a sample from page 238 at Google Books [google.com]:

        Under the deafening noise of the war, Congress was passing and Lincoln was signing into law a whole series of acts to give business interests what they wanted, and what the agrarian South had blocked before secession. The Republican platform of 1860 had been a clear appeal to businessmen. Now Congress in 1861 passed the Morrill Tariff. This made foreign goods more expensive, allowed American manufacturers to raise their prices, and forced American consumers to pay more.

        Zinn continues on to describe a Homestead Act that allowed people with means to buy up land in the west for a low price (if you had means), and the government's gift of tens of millions of acres of public land to railroads.

        Apparently giving business interests what they want is no longer enough, or the people in power need more power to deliver on the promise of all that lobbyist money. The quotation names the Republican party but I think it's well agreed these days that both major parties are equally likely to be owned by lobbies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Acapulco (1289274)
      "Mr. Bush" and "tought process" in the same sentence? Something's not ri...Wait a sec...lemme got back a bit...
      "Mr. Bush" and "thought" in the same sentence? Are you feeling ok?
  • by jeiler (1106393) <go.bugger.offNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:01PM (#24075125) Journal

    In what I am given to understand is a grand, old Slashdot tradition, the article summary (and title of the summary) bear little, if any, resemblance to the "fine" article. Neither Congress nor the Executive branch is attempting to "strip power" from this or any other judge. They are (foolishly, IMO) retroactively legalizing a series of illegal acts, and making moot a case or series of cases currently pending on said judge's schedule, but the judge's authority is not one whit affected by the proposed law.

    Shame on Soulskill and Palegray for this false-faced spin-doctoring.

    And yes, reading TFA and actually expecting the summary to at least remotely resemble the article is evidently proof that I'm new here.

    • by irtza (893217) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:06PM (#24075157) Homepage

      I always thought the user number was a dead give away.

      ok looking at my #, "always" is a bit longer than the time that I have held this view

    • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:13PM (#24075197) Homepage Journal

      the article summary (and title of the summary) bear little, if any, resemblance to the "fine" article

      *ahem* The headline of TFA: "Analysis: NSA Spying Judge Defends Rule of Law, Congress Set to Strip His Power"

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jeiler (1106393)
        So, are you arguing that Soulskill and Palegray are too stupid to see that the article made no such assertion? Or that their attempt at an attention-grabbing headline is OK because "Wired did it first"?
    • You can't even call the people who run site "editors". They are barely at the janitor level. It would take what, all of 5 minutes to read the submission and clean up the summary.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The article title is also misleading by calling the Judge "Anti Wiretap" when he interpretation of the the law was absolutely correct. Congress can change the law, but it doesn't change the fact that the laws that were on the books at the time were violated.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Martin Blank (154261)

        You can add on top of that an inability to separate people. Both articles linked clearly mention that Walker was appointed by the elder President Bush. It would probably be more enjoyable if the current president had appointed him -- I love to see that, no matter who is in the White House at the time. I guess it's that I trust the judicial branch more than the other two.

    • by Anik315 (585913) <anik@alphaco r . n et> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:33PM (#24075331)
      The article title is also misleading by calling the Judge "Anti Wiretap" when he interpretation of the the law was absolutely correct. Congress can change the law, but it doesn't change the fact that the laws that were on the books at the time were violated.
    • by EllisDees (268037)

      Hmm. Could the judge rearrange his docket so that he takes action on this case on Monday, before this law is passed by congress? Would it matter? If he decides the case while he still has the power to do so, would the telecoms still get immunity?

      • by jeiler (1106393) <go.bugger.offNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday July 06, 2008 @01:47PM (#24075859) Journal

        No, probably not, and probably, respectively.

        1. Judges cannot arbitrarily re-arrange court dates.

        2. It wouldn't matter if the judge could re-arrange his schedule. The Telcos would ask for a continuance (based on the disruption of schedule), and if the judge refused to allow it, any decision handed down would immediately be slapped silly on procedural grounds.

        3. Bush supports Telco immunity. If nothing else, he'd probably just pardon those convicted.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nomadic (141991)
          1. Judges cannot arbitrarily re-arrange court dates.

          Wow, speaking as a lawyer that is definitely news to me. Outside certain time restrictions imposed by the FRCP, a judge has incredibly wide discretion to manage his calendar. I've seen court decisions dragged out for months, while others were decided within a day or two.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by jeiler (1106393)

            ...speaking as a lawyer....

            Then, as a lawyer, you are aware of the importance of context. If you wish to object to my statements, then perhaps you should object to them in the context in which they are presented, rather than picking out the particular sound-bites that can be spun into arguable statements.

            Picking out isolated phrases from an argument and stripping them from their context is a dishonest way to summarize an argument. But then again, I'm not a lawyer...accuracy and honesty are far more important than simply "winning t

  • not exactly (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:07PM (#24075163)
    They're not trying to "strip power" from this judge specifically; the article's title is misleading. Almost sounds like they're trying to remove him from the bench.

    Not that what they're doing isn't repulsive, cowardly, and short-sighted, of course. I'm not sure who I'm madder at, fascist republicans, cowardly democrats, or the fear-driven electorate who is so terrified of terrorists they don't care what the government does. Preaching to the converted I know, so let me throw in a gratuitous go-to-hell to the the "libertarian" contingent who have been so obsessed with their own money and possessions they'll vote for anyone who promises to legalize assault rifles and lower taxes. No, not all libertarians are like this, not even most, but I've met a sizeable chunk who are basically crypto-republicans.
  • by debrain (29228) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:08PM (#24075169) Journal

    Congress is attempting to strip US District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of his power following his ruling against the government regarding immunity for telecoms in the NSA wiretapping case. Walker

    It is misleading to say that he ruled against the government. He represents a branch of the government, an independent judiciary, and he made a decision contrary to that of other branches of government. He has lived up to his role (nigh duty) and provided the checks and balances that keep the government as a whole in check.

    • by fosterNutrition (953798) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:16PM (#24075217) Journal
      Exactly -- although what Congress and the President are attempting to do is blatantly wrong, this is actually a case of the system working more or less as intended: a power struggle between the branches is the reason for the existence of branches in the first place! By having them fight each other, none of them can really go berserk and do whatever they want.

      Side note: I hate to play the pedant, but I believe your "nigh duty" should be "nay, duty." "Nigh" means approaching or drawing near, "nay" means no. All the best!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by v1 (525388)

      He has lived up to his role (nigh duty) and provided the checks and balances that keep the government as a whole in check.

      But at the same time works nonstop to modify/enhance/cripple the laws to grow his authority? This is how the system of checks and balances becomes broken, when one branch has excessive influence on another branch that is supposed to hold it in check. When the executive branch works to grant immunity and enact 'special circumstances' circumvention of laws, it becomes a laughable form of

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by KingTank (631646)
      The title of the case was "AL-HARAMAIN ISLAMIC FOUNDATION vs GEORGE BUSH, [et al]". So you are correct. Although, to be fair many cases involving the executive branch are titled "United States vs blank", so the press gets in the habit of describing the executive branch as "the government". And I believe it is a internationally widespread custom to describe the administration as "the government".
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      And in continuing the discussion of the checks and balances of our government, I offer this:

      "The article makes the observation that Congress seems to be having difficulties bringing itself to enforce the laws that it has previously passed..."

      The Legislative branch does not enforce law, they write law. The Executive enforces law. The Judicial Interprets law.

    • by SpiceWare (3438)

      reminds me of how all the people upset with "Activist Judges" have conveniently forgotten that the judges are part of the checks and balances of the system..

    • The Constitution is clear, ""the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make."

      Congress decides what the jurisdiction of the courts is, and this is a check written into the Constitution - unlike FISA. Congress "stripping power," to use loaded, biased phrasing, is exactly what Article III empowers Congress to do.

      One could make the argument that FISA itself is unconstitutional. After all, can, by me
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:09PM (#24075173)

    Republicans and Democrats have done more to strip America of her civil liberties than terrorists ever could.

  • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:09PM (#24075175)

    Who could I vote for that would actually be elected that has any sense of justice?

    The president and most of Congress are traitors to our country. There is no longer a Rule of Law. Instead, we have a kangaroo legislature that rubber-stamps any and all attempts to create a police state.

    How is Bush different than Saddam?

    • by dreamchaser (49529) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:14PM (#24075207) Homepage Journal

      How is Bush different than Saddam?

      He doesn't feed people feet first into plastic shredders. He doesn't use chemical weapons against citizens of his country. He doesn't have women raped and children tortured in front of their parents. He's going to be out of office via the normal process come next January.

      There is a much longer list. Don't get me wrong; I'm not a fan at all. I think he's made numerous blunders and our country is weaker for it. Rampant spending, ill advised military operations that are governed by the State Department more than the Pentagon (if you're going to fight a war, fight it to win). That list goes on and on as well, but to compare him to Saddam is disingenuous at best.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:32PM (#24075323)

        "He doesn't feed people feet first into plastic shredders." - Neither did Saddam, or any of his henchmen. That was just a bit of War propaganda.

        "He doesn't use chemical weapons against citizens of his country." - Um.. Yes he does. Mace is a good example. Almost all the vicious weapons, chemical or mechanical, that are used for torture today were first developed in the US.

        "He doesn't have women raped and children tortured in front of their parents." As far as I know, you have me there. I don't think he allows parents into Guantanamo. But he does use torture, there and elsewhere on a regular basis. In fact, he probably does arrange for this to happen on some extraordinary renditions....

        "He's going to be out of office via the normal process come next January." We hope. He should have been thrown from office for many crimes via the normal process already, but has managed to suppress it so far. At the least he has broken the constitution.

        When I started to write this I thought it would be hard to make any kind of comparison between Saddam and Bush, but it turns out that it's quite easy. Of course, a lot of things that were said about Saddam were wartime propaganda and lies - I have little trouble believing that if the two men had each taken up the other's role they would have behaved very similarly. And of course, Saddam has not actually taken over another non-threatening country and stolen all it's raw materials.....

      • by LilGuy (150110)

        How is Bush different than Saddam?

        He doesn't feed people feet first into plastic shredders. He doesn't use chemical weapons against citizens of his country. He doesn't have women raped and children tortured in front of their parents.

        Not in his own country anyway. I'd wager that what Bush authorizes with his presidential findings is far far worse than anything Saddam ever did.

      • by copponex (13876) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:53PM (#24075455) Homepage

        He doesn't feed people feet first into plastic shredders.

        Instead, he authorizes war and they're blown up, crushed, finished off by treatable diseases, or flee their homes to live in squalor in refugee camps. He only presided the capture of 80,000 suspected terrorists, and only 150 have officially died in custody.

        He doesn't use chemical weapons against citizens of his country.

        The same members of his current administration authorized the sale of those weapons knowing full well what they'd be used for.

        He doesn't have women raped and children tortured in front of their parents.

        The lawyer (John Yoo) in charge of formally defining torture said that crushing a child's testicles or raping an infant shouldn't be illegal when trying to extract information from terrorists. They haven't, to public knowledge, done that yet, but they think they should be able to.

        He's going to be out of office via the normal process come next January.

        Hopefully he won't start a war with Iran before he's finally removed from power, whether directly or through our client state, Israel.

        That list goes on and on as well, but to compare him to Saddam is disingenuous at best.

        No. Our government supported Saddam Hussein, with money and weapons, during the worst of his atrocities when his father was vice president. The same group of people oversaw the war in the gulf, and returned for round three to complete the destruction of Iraqi society in order to establish control over the resources of that area.

        When virtually the same administration supports a tyrant and then accuses him of being a tyrant as an excuse to decimate an entire country, there's no reason not to make the comparison. Were it not for American support of Saddam in the 80s, the Shah from 1953 to 1979, and our continuing support of Saudi Arabia, there may have been freedom in the middle east long ago.

        Saddam simply did our dirty work for us, namely, suppressing the Shia minority and keeping Iran in check and Saudi Arabia less worried about an uprising in their own state. Now we're employing the same tactics in Baghdad for the surge, where one hundred thousand mercenaries, including Sunnis no longer allied with al Qaeda, have been given free reign to "establish order."

        • I was going to write that exact comment.

          Thank you for writing it. Not enough people know that, for instance, we knowingly and intentionally provided Saddam Hussein with the chemical weapons he used to kill Iranians, which chemical weapons Saddam then used against the Kurds.

          Funny enough, we had him hanged for using the chemical weapons we gave him.

          Aren't you proud to be an American?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        ... ill advised military operations that are governed by the State Department more than the Pentagon ...

        Frontline has a great show called "Bush's War" that details the events leading up to the Iraq war up to a year or two before the "troop surge". It's very clear that the war was planned from the very beginning of Bush's presidency, and forced upon us by a series of brilliant media manipulation events that Karl Rove would be proud of. Among the really stupid things Bush and Cheney did were:

        • Completely ignore
    • How is Bush different than Saddam?

      I was going to say facial hair, but apparently that is not true [freakingnews.com].

  • Geeze! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The vote for or against amnesty not about whether telecoms participate in the future. In the future, they are supposed to get court orders -- that's the promise of the bill.

    But, if they have no legal incentive to do that (i.e. they'll get sued if they don't get a court order), what's the point in going through he legal hoops and expense to get such an order?

    Congress: For the Corporation, by the Corporation.

    Goddamn them! Goddamn them all to hell!

  • by freedom_india (780002) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:12PM (#24075187) Homepage Journal

    Lee Iacocca in his autobiography stated that people are more interested in reading headlines rather than content or Opinion.
    Before any of you slashdotters start venting foam from your mouths, let us be clear on content:
    1. The Congress is NOT trying to strip THIS judge from power to do anything.
    2. The Congress/Senate votes on July 8th to provide immunity to Telecoms who allegedly violated law.
    3. If such immunity is provided, then, and only then will this judge lose his power to apply the law to Telecoms on spying.
    If the vote stalls, (any senator can bring in a "Hold") the judge can proceed on existing laws and there is absolutely NOTHING the Congress or president can do to stop him, short of impeaching him (which will invite the wrath of even Scalia and probably result in arrest of President).
    The title is wrong, misleading and similar to what FOX news or Karl Rove would have done.
    Shame on you s'dotters, i thought you were more intelligent and accurate than FOX News.

  • You have to be brain-dead and corrupt to legalize fascism Senator Bond. Maybe that is because you are an alcoholic, but that is no excuse to give in to the the fear-mongering of the bush administration.

    You sir, and other corrupt senators, have no clue how much damage you will be causing. No clue.

  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:21PM (#24075243)
    The subject says it all. For years, we've seen stories like this. Things aren't getting better. What can readers do about it? What are you going to do about it?
  • Come on guys, do you think you could get just a little bit more sensationalistic with this?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 06, 2008 @12:52PM (#24075451)

    Am I the only one who is bitterly disappointed with the seemingly spineless Democrats.

    I have read Obama's explanation of his stance where he basically tells us to suck it up. Why are they really doing this? It seems to me that some folks broke the law and could/should go to jail. It also seems to me that the Democrats are bending over backward to make sure this doesn't happen. Are they as corrupt as the Republicans?

    If Bill Clinton can be subjected to a witch hunt and impeached for what he did with a cigar (and which imho should never have been the subject of the aforementioned kangaroo court) surely Bush should be prosecuted to the max for lying to the public and congress so he could start a war. Wiretapping Americans was also illegal and should be prosecuted.

  • Didn't Adolf Hitler do stuff like this be for taking take full power and control?

    • by moxley (895517)
      Yes. There is a well understood technique for turning a democracy into a fascist state. You could think of it as a checklist. We in America are going right down the list, textbook style.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moxley (895517)
      Yes. There are well understood techniques for transitioning a democracy or an open/free society into a closed fascist state. You could write them down on a paper and make a checklist, and we in America are going right down the list checking those things off as if those who are behind this are reading from a fascist playbook.
  • by Sfing_ter (99478) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @01:02PM (#24075509) Homepage Journal

    Oath of Office
    I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

    To date the only one I am aware of that is following his oath is Ron Paul. BTW - they not only say this they sign a document to the effect. The vile contempt for the American people is what irks me most. Talk about ELITISM, these guys run amok in a town so far separated from their constituency they lose touch with reality.They begin believing the hype that they are more than just regular people.Fuck that. With our technology, there is no reason for these fat team-killing fucktards to BE in Washington, they should be home in their states meeting with the people they represent instead of going on junkets, diddling pages, hiring hookers, and paying other people to do their research.

    I'm not bitter. Not at all.

  • I thought that the legislative and jusice (court) branches were separate and distinct. So much for the separation of powers!
  • by dcollins (135727) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @02:33PM (#24076179) Homepage

    This is definitely the most inaccurate headline I've ever seen at Slashdot. The trying-to-save-face Update is also droolingly inaccurate. Others have tried to say it, but I'll reiterate it in different words here:

    THE WIRED ARTICLE IS USING THE PHRASE "STRIP HIS POWER" SOLELY AS A METAPHOR.

    Congress is not voting on Judge Vaughn Walker in any way, shape, or form. His name doesn't appear in any bill, law, or motion in front of Congress. He just *happens* to be the judge that the warrantless wiretapping suits are in front of in the Northern District of California.

    Yes, on Tuesday Congress plans to vote on the intercom wiretapping immunity bill (and it stinks like rotten fish), like they've been planning for some time. And yes, that would mean that the judge then couldn't rule in favor of this lawsuit. But they're not targetting any particular individual, and this is just the exact same story we've been reading about for months now regarding an intercom-immunity bill.

    Congress is NOT stripping Judge Walker of any power whatsoever. Congress IS passing a new crappy law that coincidentally affects one of the cases in front of Judge Walker.

  • The Next American Civil War is going to be much bloodier than the first one was.
  • by Maestro485 (1166937) on Sunday July 06, 2008 @09:57PM (#24079329)
    Bush can NOT exercise wartime powers. Or rather, he should not be able to exercise wartime powers. War requires a declaration by Congress. Military action at the behest of the President is not war, regardless of how it's spun. If the President is able to single-handedly declare war, then use his own declaration as reason to dismiss traditional Executive restraint, the whole goddam Constitution is worthless.

    Yes, I'm well aware that this is essentially what's been going on for the last 8 years. It's been drawn out enough to make it less extreme. Just a signing statement here, an executive order there. Of course, until Congress realizes that it's own power has been hijacked by the Executive, there's really not much that can be done.

    Regardless, it really is nice to see the Judiciary stepping up lately. Hopefully some of our elected leaders get the message.

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.

Working...