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Friday, March 10, 2006

The Rubber Stamp of Arlen Specter

"If as a country we get used to a regime in which the president can basically treat laws that give him power as a basis for expanding his own authority beyond what anyone dreamed and treat laws in which Congress tries to restrict his power in a way that only Lewis Carrol, Franz Kafka and Alice and Wonderland and the trial could take seriously. What that means is that essentially the president is saying I'm a monarch. I can do what I want. I can play with Congress. I don't need their authority. ..." Lawrence Tribe
A belated added note to this post... Is this a preview of coming attractions, or will Specter hold the line? This is what I fear...

He's in the bag.

He's on the team.

He's with the boss.

Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has decided to look the other way. He's decided that fitting in is more important than standing out and speaking up. Arlen Specter now just simply wants to be one of Bush's boys.

So when it comes to the President Bush's illegal spying on Americans, going around FISA, ignoring the law so he can have his way, Arlen Specter is part of the president's posse. Rubber stamp Repubicans can't be bothered with the law, but that isn't going to stop us. Glenn Greenwald gave the lay out. Jane said what to do. PastorDan and Corrente give the run down too.

But Senator Specter is determined to keep the truth from seeing the light of day, as he goes the way of rubber stamp Republican Roberts and all the rest. If you're from Pennsylvania, it's time to let Specter hear how you feel, that the president, any president, is not above the law.

The rule of law evidently no longer means anything. Read all about the Republican hypocrisy, straight from the elephants' mouth.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “The FISA Act was–created a court set up by the chief justice of the United States to allow a rapid response to requests for surveillance activity in the war on terror. I don’t know of any legal basis to go around that.”

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): “”There is no doubt that this is inappropriate.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “WALLACE: But you do not believe that currently he has the legal authority to engage in these warrant-less wiretaps. MCCAIN: You know, I don’t think so…”

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS): “I am troubled by what the basis for the grounds that the administration says that they did these on, the legal basis…”
What Specter doesn't understand is that this isn't a partisan issue, or at least it shouldn't be. It's an American issue. Our personal freedoms, individual rights and privacy are what makes this country a democratic republic, separating us from dictatorships and the rules of kings.

But the rubber stamp Republicans, led by Senator Arlen Specter, no longer want to keep the chief executive in check. It's all the power to the presidency, at a real cost to we the people. These are lasting changes Bush and his boys are making to this country, without our approval. Specter and the other rubber stamp Republicans don't get to do that to our democracy.

Senator Arlen Specter is putting party above country, president above nation. It's weak. It's spineless, but it is also just plain wrong.

Why is the rule of law only applicable to Democratic Party presidents?

Why is President Bush getting away with an illegal spying program that is vast, unaccountable and never ending, without being held accountable? Because Senator Specter has now bought in.

Today on NPR, Sandra Day O'Connor spoke out about what the rubber stamp Republicans are doing to our courts. Over at Kos, philinmaine blogged it.

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor showed Thursday that she's not absent from judicial issues. During a speech in Washington, she said Republican leaders' attacks on the courts threaten the constitutional freedoms of Americans.
O'Connor Decries Republican Attacks on Courts
Being the chairman of the Judiciary Committee is supposed to mean something. American laws aren't partisan, or at least they're not supposed to be. We all know the sentencing reality of minorities, but that's not what we're talking about today. We're talking about the Republican chairman of the Judiciary committee who has decided that President Bush is above the law because he's one of them.

President Clinton got called on to the Senate floor and impeached for lying about sex, with Republicans railing about the "rule of law."

President Bush is has not been held accountable for one thing on his watch. It has reached such a level of abject hypocrisy on their "rule of law" mantra that Senator Arlen Specter feels George W. Bush shouldn't be questioned about going around the FISA court to illegally tap American citizens. To Specter, Bush is above the law even when he illegally wiretaps American citizens in a domestic warrantless wiretapping program, funneled secretly through the NSA that stretches so far that we actually don't even know how far it stretches, because President Bush doesn't believe he's even accountable to Congress.

Senator Specter is on the team, in the bag, backing Bush all the way. It is a disgrace in terms of congressional independence of the executive. It is a disgrace in terms of Congress again refusing to do the job The Founders intended. In fact, it is down right un-American.

The president of the United States is not above the law. That is unless he's a Republican in the era of George W. Bush, with the likes of Senator Arlen Specter chairing the Judiciary Committee.

- Taylor Marsh

UPDATE: Specter is holding hearings, yes, but when I saw the picture it infuriated me and gave me the impression that he's going to go along. Glenn Greenwald has the shot and raised the question. (I've added this link above.) I took it all the way.

UPDATE II: Here's more on retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor warning of "dictatorship."