The 1961 movie, Judgment at Nuremberg, accurately protrayed the 1947 trials of the Nazi judges and lawyers who supported Hitler's Nazism and revealed the effect of creeping Nazism that brought about fascism and the ultimate destruction of Germany. We need another "Judgment at Nuremberg" here and now to reveal how the insidious effect of judges' and lawyers' support of Bushism, left unchecked, is converting the US to another fascistic empire, under the rule of one man, unconstrained by the rule of law.
The extreme right-wing judges and lawyers in Germany who were in favor of autocratic, authoritarian power were quick to support an ignorant buffoon whos policies brought about the destruction of Germany. We have here in the US extreme right-wing judges and lawyers who are in favor of autocratic, authoritarian power for another ignorant buffoon, George Bush. We must expose these judges and lawyers contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law at every opportunity. Professor Philip Bobbitt presents us with just such an opportunity.
The title of Philip Bobbitt's article in the New York Times, "The Warrantless Debate Over Wiretapping" gives you the main idea of the article, that there should be no warrants required for wiretapping and that there shouldn't even be any debate about it. Oddly, Bobbitt is a professor of law at Columbia University.
Excerpts from Professor Bobbitt's article advocating the end of the rule of law are easily refuted:
"It made sense to require that the person whose communications were intercepted be a spy when the whole point of the interception was to gather evidence to prosecute espionage. This makes much less sense when the purpose of the interception is to determine whether the person is in fact an agent at all."
Bobbitt's focuse here is not on the law but on the contrived purpose of the Bush administration. He has dismissed the rule of law in favor of what George Bush wants to do, warrantless spying on US citizens.
"By crosshatching vast amounts of information, it is possible to detect patterns that can expose the network through its benign operations and then focus on its more malignant schemes. For this purpose, warrants are utterly beside the point. As Judge Richard Posner has put it, 'once you grant the legitimacy of surveillance aimed at detection rather than at gathering evidence of guilt, requiring a warrant to conduct it would be like requiring a warrant to ask people questions.' Warrants provide a useful standard for surveillance designed to prove guilt, not to learn the identity of people who may be planning atrocities."
Bobbitt says here that it's alright to spy on people without a warrant who are benignly doing nothing wrong in hopes that it may, possibly, catch them doing something wrong. Again, his focus is on approval of the unlawful act of warrantless spying, not on the law against it. Judge Posner says the same thing, that spying on people without a warrant who have done nothing wrong is like asking them questions. Posner doesn't make the distinction between unlawfully spying on people without their knowledge and forthrightly asking them questions with their knowledge, where they have the right to refuse to answer. When they're spied on without their knowledge, they can't exercise their right to refuse to provide information. That's why there's a Fourth Amendment.
Speaking of a statutory fix that waived the warrant requirement, Bobbitt says, "The statutory change is unnecessary, I suppose, if you believe that there is in fact no real threat, that it's all hype by the White House to expand its power - presumably to some other end - and that all we have to fear is fear itself. Doubtless, some people do believe this.
No, Professor Bobbitt, we don't believe that there is in fact no real threat and that it's all hype by the White House to expand its power. We don't believe it, we know it for a fact. The proof of our knowledge is the fact that every statement by George Bush about the threat of Iraq has been false and we know that his falsehoods have gained him a lot ot illegitimate power. And we know that all we have to fear is not your and Bush's false fear mongering, but you and Bush. And we don't believe this, we know it.
Bobbitt goes on: "The president of the American Bar Association objected to the new statute by sarcastically observing, 'The last time I checked, the Fourth Amendment is still in the Bill of Rights,' which he doubtless believed to be a withering salvo."
Bobbitt shows a profound misunderstanding of what sarcasm is when he equates it with a factual statement. And the speaker didn't believe it was a "withering salvo," he knew it was a statement of fact. Bobbitt's dismissal of and relegation of the Fourth Amendment to being merely a subject for sarcasm shows his lack of knowledge that it is, in fact, the law of the land, a subject with which Bobbitt is apparently thoroughly unfamiliar. That's not sarcasm, that's just another statement of fact.
In the movie, Judgment at Nuremberg, one of the Nazi judges told the presiding judge of the tribunal, speaking of the millions of people who were murdered, that, "I never thought it would come to this." The trial judges reply was, "It came to this the first time you sentenced a man to death who you knew was innocent."
Professor Bobbitt, it has come to this. It came to this the first time you showed your lack of support for the rule of law, which you mention nowhere in your article, where you instead support the absence of the rule of law. That puts you on the same slippery slope that led the German judges and lawyers to incrementally, bit by bit, to come to support Adolph Hitler and wind up in the dock at Nuremberg. Your incremental chipping away at the rule of law in support of George Bush's lawless regime is no different, and we hope will lead to you, too, being brought to judgment before the US suffers the fate of Nazi Germany by being misled into believing what you say and adopting Bushism.
You can speak from a position of authority on the law and you have a forum from which to speak and be listened to. The shame of it is that you have perverted that position and used that forum to preach lawlessness. Some of the Nazi judges, under prosecution, saw the errors of their ways. Doubtless, you, also will do so when you stand in the dock at Nuremberg.