Hindrocket On The NSA Surveillance

Ken AshfordRight Wing Punditry/Idiocy, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Powerline was named Time Magazine’s Blog Of The Year for 2004.  Time Magazine is not having a "Blog Of The Year" this year.  I’m sure there’s a reason why.

Powerline’s John Hindrocket — who is a lawyer — wrote a moronic post on the NSA surveillance scandal, and threw in this piece of silliness today:

Many people seem not to understand that the executive branch is of equal authority with the legislative and judicial branches. The President has Constitutional powers upon which Congress cannot impinge. Thus, if the President has the authority to direct the armed forces to intercept phone calls received by telephones used by terrorists in Afghanistan, as I think he surely does, that authority cannot be taken away by Congressional action.

I have no idea what "equal authority" means, and neither (I suspect) does John.  But any 9th grader can tell you that our government consists of three branches which individually act as checks and balances of the others.  For example, the Constitution states that the President is the Commander-in-Chief, but it give the power to Congress to declare war.  The judiciary gets to interpret the Constitution, but the President (with the advice and consent of Congress) gets to select the judicary. 

And so it goes.  For every power afford one of the branches of government, there is a "check" on that power from another branch. 

The notion that one branch — in this case, the executive branch — can do whatever the hell it wants and the other branches have no oversight, is simply wrong.  Moreover, it’s ascribing totalitarian ideals to the Founding Fathers.

Wiretapping of Americans without court approval or Congressional statute defies the basic American notion of a government comprised of checks and balances.

And you would think that patriotic Americans, not to mention lawyers, would know this.

It’s also interesting how strict constructionists of the Constitution — like Hindrocket — suddenly are clinging to the argument that the Constitution gives "the authority to direct the armed forces to intercept phone calls received by telephones used by terrorists in Afghanistan".  I find no such language anywhere in the Constitution.  Not even close.

And these people criticize judges about "legislating from the bench"?  How about "legislating from the Oval Office", asshole?