Power of Story Send a Tweet        
- Advertisement -
OpEdNews Op Eds

House Again Defies Bush, Upholds Constitution on Wiretaps

By       Message Skeeter Sanders       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Author 8955
- Advertisement -
Bush Vows to Veto Surveillance Bill That Doesn't Grant Telecom Companies Immunity From Lawsuits, But House Democrats Vow They Won't Usurp the Fourth Amendment and Insist It's Up to the Courts -- Not the White House or the Congress -- to Decide Legality of Warrantless Wiretaps

COMING WEDNESDAY: On the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, a group of U.S. soldiers reflect on their participation in the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

By Skeeter Sanders

President Bush's determination to have the federal government eavesdrop on Americans' electronic communications without court warrants -- in clear violation of the Constitution -- has run into a brick wall, as the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives again refused to yield to his demand that telecommunications companies be granted immunity from civil lawsuits.

- Advertisement -
The House passed by a narrow margin Friday a surveillance bill that President Bush has vowed to veto if it reaches his desk. The measure, passed by a party-line vote of 213-197, denies immunity from civil lawsuits to telecommunications companies that turned over to the government the confidential records of their millions of customers without first demanding the government to produce court warrants.

Such warrants are required by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. House Democrats insisted that they will not be a party to what they see as a wholesale disregard of Americans' Fourth Amendment constitutional right to be "secure from unreasonable searches and seizures" by the government and that it's up to the courts -- not the White House or the Congress -- to decide the legality of the government's warrantless wiretapping program.

Bush has adamantly insisted that the warrantless surveillance program, initiated after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, is legal. But this blogger has insisted with equal adamance that the program is unconstitutional -- and has a unanimous 1972 U.S. Supreme Court ruling and a subsequent 1975 U.S. Appeals Court decision to prove it.

- Advertisement -
GOP, Democrats Rip Each Other Over Spy Bill

White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto condemned the House action as a "significant step backward in defending our country against terrorism." But Fratto predicted that the House bill will go nowhere. "The good news is that the House bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate and, in any event, would be vetoed by the President if it ever got to his desk," Fratto said.

Republican House minority leader John Boehner condemned the Democrats for allowing the issue to fester over the legislature's recess. "This flawed legislation has no chance of becoming law, and the majority knows it," he said. "The fact that Congress is going on spring break, at a time when Al-Qaida and other terrorist enemies continue plotting against us, is both irresponsible and dangerous."

But if Fratto and Boehner think that House Democrats are going to roll over and play dead while the Bush administration rides roughshod over the Constitution in its pursuit of the "war on terror," they are sorely mistaken.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the House bill was an improvement on the Senate version, and accused the Bush administration of sabotaging efforts to come up with a compromise.

"Unfortunately, congressional Republicans and the administration have refused to engage in meaningful discussions or negotiations about the legislation," Leahy said. "The White House has tried, again, to treat Congress like a rubber stamp."

- Advertisement -
Spy Bill Bush Wants Is a Step Toward Authoritarian Tyranny

The White House also continues to display a callous disregard for the Constitution that the president is bound by his oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend" -- particularly the Fourth Amendment. The surveillance bill that Bush wants is a dangerous step toward an authoritarian tyranny that strips Americans of their constitutional rights.

To grant the telecoms immunity from lawsuits is to deny the American people their First Amendment constitutional right to petition the judicial branch of government for redress of grievances -- namely, the executive branch of government spying on them without probable cause and without court warrants, in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

I'm a native of New York City who's called the Green Mountain state of Vermont home since the summer of 1994. A former freelance journalist, I'm a fiercely independent freethinker who's highly skeptical of authority figures -- especially when (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact EditorContact Editor
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Corsi May Face Libel Suit Over False Claims in Anti-Obama Book

UPDATE: Ron Paul Lied to CNN About Writing Racist Newsletters

New Anti-Obama Smears in Tabloids Owned by Staunch Clintonista

A Holiday Special: The Pagan Roots of Christmas

Finally! Constitution Wins, GOP Fearmongering Loses In Terror War