The Right Coast

December 28, 2005
Thank you, David and Lee
By Tom Smith

A lucid summary of the President's power to gather wartime intelligence, which easily covers the NSA program.

And another thing. Here is a point I have not seen made. Does anybody seriously think that the Supreme Court, given the chance, would say to the President, "sorry, the NSA program is illegal; you have to stop it until you get permission from the FISA court or Congress." That is not going to happen. What might happen is that two or three, or perhaps even four justices might stake out that position once they are sure they would be in the minority. The reason the Court will not do that is that, feckless as they can be, they do not want to be responsible for a dirty bomb going off in Tampa, Seattle or Fort Worth. Just a little bit of accountability goes a long way. They do not want to go down in history as the court that destroyed the lives of a million people. One way or another, the White House would make the point to them that, you know, this really is one of the most important things between us and the murderous nutcases. As much as I am usually underwhelmed by the statesmanship on most Justices, I simply don't believe they are that irresponsible or stupid. For various Senators and Congresspersons, the story is different, unfortunately. But even there, I am not aware of any serious move to stop the program, merely to investigate it, with all the opportunities for posturing and political point making that offers. And notice the press is playing nicely. You don't see reporters asking, "Senator, are you saying the programs should be stopped until a warrant is granted?" And faced with such a question, Senator Reid would probably come back with a bunch of evasions and calls for more investigation.