The second point I have touched on, the unconstitutionality of the actions of the President. I see this as an oddly bifurcated problem. I think we can find ourselves in a situation that had Bush gone to a court his actions in wiretapping citizens may have been upheld. That is side one of the problem because we cannot stand for the wiretapping of citizens of this country without due process. The second part of the problem is the act may be legal what is illegal is the way Bush approached it. The determination made by the White House was made in clear violation of the Constitution and its demand for the separation of powers. The executive branch is charged with executing the law. The Constitution leaves the President with no judicial review and no legislative perogative to rewrite or modify on the fly laws unless such power has been limitedly granted to the President by act of Congress. The law in question leaves the President with no discretion to make judgment calls on the fly. Bush overstepped his constitutional limits when his Administration made a determination that the law as written was inadequate (this would be judicial review) and he could in fact act contrary to the law by moving forward with wiretap without judicial approval or oversight (this is a legislative modification).
What makes this situation far more frightening than the fact that we may all be under surveillance is what we are seeing happing to Congress and the Judiciary. Most presidential historians will tell you that the power of the presidency is largely determined by the man in the office. The framers were vague enough in the enumeration of powers to the Executive that each president has the opportunity to redefine the presidency. Since day one Bush has set his sites on a very strong presidency and has done so via the usurpation of power from the other two branches. Congress usually wakes up to start to restore its power and the judiciary eventually begins to check the power of the president (Rehnquist unfortunately had been neutering Congress since he took the bench leaving the situation ripe for such a president like Bush to come along and fill the vacuum). If we do not start checking Bush’s powers now the future for civil rights looks more grim than ever before. We need to prod Congress along and tell them to start taking back their power; this deference to Bush is nonsense and dangerous.
Cross posted at Mass Revolution Now!