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Suing Bush Boy: US District Court Judge Rules Bush Lacks Authority to Disregard FISA

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 09:09 AM
Original message
Suing Bush Boy: US District Court Judge Rules Bush Lacks Authority to Disregard FISA
A lawyer in the successful suit tells the tale of how Bush has been ruled to be a felon. Seems like this should be front-page news, no?:


http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/07/09/alharam...

Suing George W. Bush: A bizarre and troubling tale

U.S. officials went to extremes to stifle our legal challenge to Bush's warrantless surveillance -- but a federal judge says the program is criminal, anyway.

By Jon B. Eisenberg

Jul. 09, 2008 | On July 3, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the U.S. District Court in California made a ruling particularly worthy of the nation's attention. In Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc. v. Bush, a key case in the epic battle over warrantless spying inside the United States, Judge Walker ruled, effectively, that President George W. Bush is a felon.

Judge Walker held that the president lacks the authority to disregard the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA -- which means Bush's warrantless electronic surveillance program was illegal. Whether Bush will ultimately be held accountable for violating federal law with the program remains unclear. Bush administration lawyers have fought vigorously -- at times using brazen, logic-defying tactics -- to prevent that from happening. The court battle will continue to play out as Congress continues to battle over recasting FISA and possibly granting immunity to telecom companies involved in the illegal surveillance.

The story of how Al-Haramain's lawyers negotiated the journey thus far to Judge Walker's ruling -- a team of seven lawyers that includes me -- sheds light on how much is at stake for the Bush administration and the country. It is a surreal saga, involving a top-secret document accidentally released by the government, a showdown between Bush lawyers and a federal judge, the violent destruction of a laptop computer by government agents, and possibly even the top-secret shredding of a banana peel.

Call me Alice -- because this is a tale directly from Government Secrecy Wonderland, the bizarre and unnerving adventures of suing President Bush for apparently violating a federal law. I'll swear under penalty of perjury that what follows is true and correct. Otherwise, you might not even believe it.

...
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
1. The FBI vs. the judge (the story, cont'd)
Edited on Wed Jul-09-08 10:47 AM by BurtWorm
...

Along with the complaint (the formal pleading that starts a lawsuit), which we filed in February of 2006 in the Oregon federal District Court, we submitted the Document. The government's first response was to try to seize the Document from the court. On March 17, 2006, as we were holding our first all-hands meeting of the Al-Haramain legal team in Portland, we received a telephone call from a Department of Justice attorney, advising us that FBI agents were en route to the federal District Court building to confiscate the Document. We immediately lodged a protest with the assigned judge, Garr King, who scheduled an emergency telephone conference with him and all counsel. The FBI agents retreated.

During the emergency hearing, DOJ attorney Anthony Coppolino demanded that the Document be turned over to the FBI for storage in a top-secret repository called a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, or SCIF. To my astonishment, Judge King responded: "What if I say I will not deliver it to the FBI, Mr. Coppolino?" A clash of constitutional powers was brewing. Agents of the executive branch were threatening to invade the files of the judicial branch. The judge was resisting, almost daring them to.

It was the executive branch that blinked. After a pause, Coppolino said: "Well, your Honor, we obviously don't want to have any kind of a confrontation with you; we want to work this out." We all agreed that the Document would be held in a nearby SCIF to which Judge King would have free access.

This was the beginning of a bizarre journey that has not yet ended. Since then, for nearly two and a half years, we have been attempting to use the Document to confirm our clients' standing to sue under FISA and thus test the legality of President Bush's warrantless surveillance program. More broadly, we want the courts to discredit the so-called unitary executive theory of presidential power, which holds that the president has exclusive authority over matters of national security and may disregard laws like FISA that impose checks on presidential power. First, however, we have had to get past a major obstacle used by the Bush administration to stand in our way.


...
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
2. If you're going to recommend this thread, please kick it.
Thanks!
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 07:52 PM
Response to Reply #2
13. i'll do both
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Thank you
and thank you.
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pleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 12:06 PM
Response to Original message
3. K&R Thank you so very much.



A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
- Edward R. Murrow



To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
- Abraham Lincoln
_________________________________
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 04:03 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. You're very welcome.
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pleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
4. It is so nice to know that there are people out there that are
not afraid to stand up to this corrupt president.
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Qutzupalotl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
5. Kick
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Pastiche423 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 02:32 PM
Response to Original message
6. It most certainly should be front page news!
Judge Walker, Judge King and the attorneys have my eternal graditude. They give a wee bit of hope that there are people in this country that will fight for our Constitution.
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TNOE Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
7. This is why I love the law
its a beautiful thing. Thank God this administration didn't get away with fully politicizing the Justice Department. Then we would be done.
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gratuitous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
8. Isn't the president supposed to defend the Constitution?
Seems like Mr. Bush is spending a great deal of time and energy subverting it. Oh well, it's not like anyone expected him to follow that oath he swore at his inaugurations.
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Breeze54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
10. Wow!
:kick: & Recommended
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 07:49 PM
Response to Original message
11. as the media minds their advertisers and marketeers
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 07:52 PM
Response to Original message
12. K&R
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lfairban Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 11:25 PM
Response to Original message
15. I liked this part . . .
" Come spring, we turned our attention to the 9th Circuit appeal, where the appellate court would decide whether the state secrets privilege required our lawsuit to be thrown out entirely. In June of 2007, the DOJ attorneys filed two opening briefs in the 9th Circuit. One brief was publicly available, to which we would be allowed to file a publicly available responsive brief. The other was filed in secret, under seal, for the judge's eyes only. The bad news for us was that we would not be permitted to see the government's secret brief; the (sort of) good news was that we could file our own secret brief in response.

Rebutting arguments you've not been allowed to see is a talent that isn't taught in law school. I consulted Kafka's "The Trial," looking for helpful tips, but found none. I tried guessing at what might be in the government's secret brief and then hazarding a response in our own. Because of Judge King's prior order, we had to confer with the DOJ attorneys on the logistics of how to do this secret filing. "
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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-09-08 11:36 PM
Response to Original message
16. This ruling came just days before the FISA bill vote.
As Glenn Greenwald points out....the FISA vote contradicts the ruling.

Glenn Greenwald on Al-Haramain ruling that repudiates Congress's plan to pass the FISA bill.

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merh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 12:02 AM
Response to Original message
17. There you go, the program is illegal, no certification by the AG
will have much standing given this ruling. All the Plaintiff's have to do is cite this case to the Court.

LOL - and I seriously doubt that a court will uphold that provision of the law as it undermines their duties under the law - the constitution.

;)

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Zhade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 01:04 AM
Response to Original message
18. kick
kick

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FourScore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 01:24 AM
Response to Original message
19. Wow. What an article. Thanks, BurtWorm!
Recommend!
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 01:31 AM
Response to Original message
20. kick
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frog92969 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 03:01 AM
Response to Original message
21. K&R
Thank you, I needed some good news today.
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bean fidhleir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 03:04 AM
Response to Original message
22. bump
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hardtoport Donating Member (87 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 04:04 AM
Response to Original message
23. K&R
nt
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santamargarita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 04:47 AM
Response to Original message
24. Republicans are natural born traitors, but Democrats...
Anyone who voted to support this illegal act should be removed from office!
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billyoc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 05:25 AM
Response to Original message
25. K&R
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DUlover2909 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 06:10 AM
Response to Original message
26. Get Bush! Get that lying ass and skewer him!
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rambler_american Donating Member (565 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 06:26 AM
Response to Original message
27. Kicked and rec'd
:kick:

Impeach, indict, imprison.
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Erda Donating Member (28 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 07:24 AM
Response to Original message
28. I thought that this surveillance without a warrant
began before 9/11. I wonder why these lawyers aren't using this in their argument?
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mmonk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 07:28 AM
Response to Original message
29. The bush democrats are working feverously
to reverse that. The first step was yesterday's vote.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 07:35 AM
Response to Original message
30. There Is Hope
The other day, in my own FISA frustration, I was hoping there were some sharp lawyers out there finding ways to go around this draconian edict and find ways to sue both this regime and the telcoms. If this means going the civil route, so be it...we've seen some interesting things come from this area and from all of my investigating, I don't see either being exempt from such a suit. Criminal yes, civil, no. Maybe someone can show me otherwise.

As Senator Feingold said so well yesterday, maybe it'll be a year or 5 or 10...but the truth about all this spying will come out and the shame is on all of those who voted to absolve all of this criminality and to encourage even more.

What was most telling about yesterday's vote and it seems to have slipped many in anaylsis...is that almost everyone who had been briefed on the depth of the program...including the RANKING GOOP on the Intel committee all voted this puppy down while the majority who voted for never got a full look says how week-kneed our legislative has become. Shameful.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #30
33. It seems pretty clear that the legislative and the executive are trying to exclude the judiciary
from the so-called war on terror. And it's not clear how many of those dolts in Congress realize the constitutional crisis they are setting up here. Maybe some are, but the rest--including Obama, sadly enough--seem to think they're just playing some political game here, just business as usual inside the beltway.

It's amazing how blindly Congress is lurching ahead toward chaos.
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drm604 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 07:39 AM
Response to Original message
31. K&R
:kick:
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LiberalLovinLug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
32. Kick
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MadrasT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 10:05 AM
Response to Original message
34. Kick
:kick:
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Indenturedebtor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-10-08 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
35. K+R The Judicial branch is the only sane one left
Aside from the Supremes anyways. Local and state judges and lawyers are the only ones slowing the tide of facism anymore!
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cyberpj Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-11-08 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
36. K/R for more to read. nt
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