Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The King Lives

Yesterday, the Obama Justice Department asked a judge to dismiss a case that was initially brought against the Bush administration for their warrantless wiretapping program. The Justice Department said that if the claim were to move forward it would risk disclosure of classified or sensitive material. Basically they state that regardless of the actual merits of the case, the mere risk of the release of government records should be enough to dismiss the claim. That is only the first of their reasons for asking for this dismissal.

The other grounds for dismissal is that, according to the Obama Justice Department, no lawsuit should be allowed to be brought against the government for wiretapping unless they somehow publicly release information that they have gathered, irrespective of whether the means of gathering that information was legal or not. It seems that the Obama Justice Department is not only seeking to immunize the Bush administration from any claims of wrongdoing based on their warrantless wiretapping program, they are also seeking to expand the right of the government to the point that they can invade the privacy of its citizens at will.

The Obama Justice Department is claiming the right of sovereign immunity. Sovereign immunity is a concept based on old English law that basically states that the king or state is immune from having civil or legal claims brought against it. There are indeed valid reasons for making this claim, since the courts would literally be filled with people bringing frivolous suits if the government were not immune in most instances. However, when the government blatantly disregards one of the amendments in the Bill of Rights, I believe they forfeit their right to use this defense. I wrote an article about the Imperial Bush presidency back in May of '08. The Bush administration wielded power as if we lived in a monarchy. They clearly overstepped their constitutional boundaries and did so without regret. I honestly thought all that changed on January 20th of this year. I had no fantasies of President Obama changing the world overnight. I certainly did not believe that the economy would all of sudden reverse course and go from bust to boom. However I did believe that the Constitution would once again take it's rightful place. I did believe that our government would stop treating it's citizens like criminals. I did believe that we would free to live our lives without the constant threat of government surveillance. I guess I was wrong.

As I have stated before, my main desire for this administration was that we would ave an Executive branch that acts in accordance with and respects the Constitution. I ask again, where the hell is the man who said the choice between safety and our ideals is a false one? I will reprint the fourth amendment of the Bill of Rights here and ask the question; Does this opinion by the Justice Department, in any way, belong in a country that in theory is governed by this document?

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


Jack Jodell said...

This is a very, VERY shocking and disappointing move by the Obama Justice Department. It holds dire implications for our freedom and for the survival of our Constitution as a functioning document. I would expect something like this from the far right, not the Obama administration. Pinch me - slap me - pour ice water all over me --- I MUST be in the grip of a nightmare! And there MUST be a lot more to this than meets the eye, for I simply cannot believe this right now!

Mycue23 said...

An interpretation of this is that it is not a statement of policy, but merely a legal ploy to try and get the case dismissed. I frankly fail to see the difference. Even used as a legal ploy, the Justice Department is still asserting the claim that the 4th amendment doesn't apply to the government. If there is no relief in the courts when the government tramples on our supposedly guaranteed constitutional rights, then where exactly can we seek redress for this kind of harm. The FISA bill (which passed last year with the vote of then Senator Obama, I might add), clearly shows that the Congress is also unwilling to challenge the authority of the administration when it tramples on the rights of the American people.

If this is now the policy of the US government, then it is now clear that the Constitution isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Jack Jodell said...

Even an attempt to dismiss the case is reprehensible. It would let stand and therefore set a precedent that government and its private industry lackeys can do whatever they damn well please. This is utterly disgusting, completely irresponsible, and thoroughly indefensible.