Thu Jan 3, 2013, 09:28 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
Judge Says Under Law Executive Branch Can Commit Acts That Sure Do Seem Unconstitutional
Judge Says Under Law Executive Branch Can Commit Acts That Sure Do Seem Unconstitutional Without Having to Explain Why They Allegedly Aren't
Even as she turned down requests from the ACLU and New York Times to release information on American targeted killings, frustrated federal judge Colleen McMahon acknowledged such disclosure might help justify "the scope of the ill-defined yet vast and seemingly ever-growing exercise in which we have been engaged for well over a decade, at great cost in lives, treasure, and (at least in the minds of some) personal liberty." More on Mother Jones' Quote of the Day.
"Under the law, I can only conclude that the Government... cannot be compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States. The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me, but I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret."
Obama’s New Year’s Resolution: Protect the Status Quo
by Amy Goodman
Amidst the White House and congressional theatrics surrounding the so-called fiscal-cliff negotiations, a number of bills were signed into law by President Barack Obama that renew some of the worst excesses of the Bush years. Largely ignored by the media, these laws further entrench odious policies like indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping and the continued operation of the U.S. gulag in Guantanamo. The deal to avert the fiscal cliff itself increases the likelihood that President Obama may yet scuttle an unprecedented cut in the Pentagon’s bloated budget. It’s not such a happy new year, after all
On Sunday, Dec. 30, the White House press secretary’s office issued a terse release stating “The President signed into law H.R. 5949, the ‘FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012,’ which provides a five-year extension of Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.” With that, the government’s controversial surveillance powers were renewed until the end of 2017. The American Civil Liberties Union called it the “heartbreak of another Senate vote in favor of dragnet collection of Americans’ communications.”
A champion of progressive causes in the U.S. House of Representatives, Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, is leaving Congress after 16 years, after his Cleveland district was eliminated due to Republican-controlled redistricting following the 2010 census. Days before his departure from Congress, I asked him about the FISA reauthorization.
“The FISA bill is just one example,” Kucinich replied, “We’re entering into a brave new world, which involves not only the government apparatus being able to look in massive databases and extract information to try to profile people who might be considered threats to the prevailing status quo. But we also are looking at drones, which are increasingly miniaturized, that will give the governments, at every level, more of an ability to look into people’s private conduct. This is a nightmare.”
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Judge Says Under Law Executive Branch Can Commit Acts That Sure Do Seem Unconstitutional (Original post)
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Thu Jan 3, 2013, 09:55 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
1. Judge backs Obama administration on secrecy of targeted killings of terrorism suspects
The Obama administration acted lawfully in refusing to disclose information about its targeted killings of terrorism suspects, including the 2011 drone strikes that killed three U.S. citizens in Yemen, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
But the judge also described a “veritable Catch-22” of security rules that allow the executive branch to declare legal “actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.”
“The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me,” Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote in her ruling.
The case combined separate challenges from the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times to the administration’s refusal to release documents about targeted killings under the Freedom of Information Act.