Wednesday, January 04, 2006

"The Right To Be Left Alone"

That's what Justice Brandeis called it. He wrote that it was "the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men." He went on to write that no federal official was authorized to commit a crime on the government's behalf.

He didn't say "unless it's really, really important." Or "unless we're confronted with evildoers."

It's not hard to imagine what Brandeis would think of Bush's NSA spying, and the weary defense that what the President does can't possibly be illegal because the President says so. The only mystery would be why Bush would trot out such a wheezy defense that has so consistently failed in the past.

I am no legal mind, but I would ask one question: If the President believes he has such absolute powers of surveillance that he can, at his sole discretion and without court order, decide to wiretap American citizens, then why fight over extending the Patriot Act?

I mean, seriously: If they think what they did is legal, then why are they fighting to extend the Patriot Act? They don't need it. They should just screw it and let it expire.

But they are fighting to extend it. So what does that tell you?

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