America's Supremes are notoriously
hard right. Equal justice under law is just a figure of speech. Rule of
law principles and egalitarian fairness don't matter. Power politics corrupts
the High Court. It lacks legitimacy.
Five Supreme Court justices are Federalist Society (FS) members. They
include Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Anthony
Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas. They're ideological extremists.
FS began 30 years ago at Harvard, Yale and University of Chicago law schools.
Initially it was a student organization. It challenges orthodox liberalism.
It corrupts itself in the process.
It advocates rolling back civil liberties. It wants New Deal social policies
ended. It supports imperial wars, corporatism, and police state harshness.
It wants reproductive choice, government regulations, labor rights, and
environmental protections ended. It spurns justice in defense of privilege.
It defiles constitutional protections doing so.
Justice Elena Kagan is ideologically sympathetic. She brags about loving
the Federalist Society. As Harvard Law School dean, she hired Bush's outgoing
Office of Legal Counsel director, Jack Goldsmith. Francis Boyle called
him a war criminal.
Last September, Congress overwhelmingly passed the 2012 FISA Amendments
Reauthorization Act. Obama signed it into law. He called doing so a national
security priority. He lied. It reflects police state harshness.
It's lawless without legitimacy. It extends the 2008 FISA Amendments Act
(FAA). It's for another five years.
It authorizes warrantless spying. It does so without naming names or probable
cause. It violates Fourth Amendment protections. It states:
"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."
Overseas phone calls, emails, and other communications of US citizens
and permanent residents may be monitored without court authorization.
Perhaps domestic ones are covertly. Anything goes is policy.
Probable cause isn't needed. Warrantless electronic eavesdropping is instrusive
and lawless. Everyone is vulnerable for any reason or none at all. Vague
language allows virtually anything.
Constitutional protections don’t matter. They’re null and void. What Bush
began, Obama embraces. Things are worse than ever. Full-blown tyranny
remains a hair's breath away. Obama governs by diktat authority.
The ACLU filed suit. It passed through lower courts to the Supremes. Last
October, High Court justices heard oral arguments. Clapper v. Amnesty
International challenged the constitutionality of warrantless spying.
On February 26, the Supreme Court ruled. It dismissed ACLU's case. It
violated constitutional protections doing so. It wasn't the first time
inviolable law was spurned.
On February 27, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) commented. The
Court didn't address FFA's constitutionality, it said. It ruled against
lawyers, journalists, human rights groups, and others challenging protections
too important to deny.
It said they couldn't prove surveillance was "certainly impending." They
didn't have required standing to sue.
Saying so is deeply troubling. It's an absurdity on its face. It's a standard
never before used. Imposing it denies the legitimate right to sue. Doing
so reflects police state justice.
"In other words," said EFF, "since (plaintiffs) did not have definitive
proof" of what Washington keeps secret, "they cannot challenge" the law's
Saying so defies reason and rule of law fairness. America's High Court
struck another blow against freedom. Good news remains, said EFF.
Its Jewel v. NSA suit isn't affected. The spy agency targets millions
of ordinary Americans lawlessly. Doing so is policy. Government officials
remain unaccountable. Evidence is indisputable.
NSA whistleblowers and former AT&T employee Mark Klein provided it.
It proves the telecom giant routes Internet traffic to a secret San Francisco
facility. NSA controls it.
EFF challenged responsible government officials. They include George Bush,
Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales, and others. They ordered and participated
in warrantless domestic surveillance. Obama and other administration officials
do it now.
In 2009, his administration moved for dismissal. It claimed permitting
it would require revealing "state secrets."
Lower and appeals courts disagreed. The case remains active. Perhaps it'll
reach the High Court. Losing Clapper makes Jewel more important.
It's "one of the last remaining hopes for a court ruling on the legality
of" lawlessly surveilling Americans, said EFF. It's been ongoing for over
Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals judges granted Jewel standing. They
"Jewel has much stronger allegations of concrete and particularized injury
than did the plaintiffs in Amnesty International. Whereas they anticipated
or projected future government conduct, Jewel’s complaint alleges past
incidents of actual government interception of her electronic communications."
Major hurdles remain to be overcome. The Supreme Court ruled future harm
must be "certainly impending." It's required to sue, they said. It obstructs
It's "very troubling," said EFF. It's especially so "in the context of
cases involving secret surveillance."
Future conduct can't be predicted. Ruling so denies all challenges. None
can be settled equitably. Anything can be claimed for any reason to deny
Justice Breyer dissented on Clapper. He explained certainly impending's
"One can, of course, always imagine some special circumstance that negates
a virtual likelihood, no matter how strong."
"But the same is true about most, if not all, ordinary inferences about
"Perhaps, despite pouring rain, the streets will remain dry (due to the
presence of a special chemical)."
ACLU deputy legal director, Jameel Jaffer, said the High Court ruling
denies "meaningful judicial review and leaves Americans' privacy rights
to the mercy of the political branches."
"More than a decade after 9/11, we still have no judicial ruling on the
lawfulness of torture, of extraordinary rendition, of targeted killings
or of the warrantless wiretapping program."
"These programs were all contested in the public sphere, but they have
not been contested in the courts."
Police state justice remains policy.
Secret lawless surveillance alone is troubling. It differs from physical
searches. It's hidden. Targets don't know they're spied on or why. Innocent
people suffer. Constitutional protections are denied.
Reasons for doing so don't wash. According to Supreme CourtThink, Washington
can deny victims standing.
Constitutionality doesn't matter. Actions can be kept secret. Challengers
can't sue unless government agrees. Unfettered power is institutionalized.
Rule of law principles don't apply.
FAA permits sweeping surveillance. Categories of people can be targeted.
Millions are affected at the same time. No one know's what's going on
Police state harshness is policy. Innocence is no justifiable defense.
Due process and judicial fairness don't matter. What Obama officials say
goes. They operate extrajudicially. High Court justices approve. Doing
so makes them complicit. There's no place to hide.
Electronic communications can be monitored. Probable cause isn't needed.
Obama officials convinced Ninth Circuit justices to dismiss warrantless
wiretapping challenges earlier.
In Al Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Obama (August 2012), they dismissed
plaintiff's challenge. They did so on what's called "sovereign immunity."
It prevents government, its agencies and departments from being sued without
consent. It stems from earlier practice. It comes from notions that monarchs
can do no wrong. It violates fundamental freedoms doing so.
EFF hopes Al Haramain won't affect Jewel. It raises "many causes of action."
They embrace more than what 50 USC, Section 1810 covers. It's US law explaining
actual and punitive monetary damages.
Jewel wants warrantless surveillance stopped. It wants millions of innocent
Americans protected. It wants proper warrants and judicial oversight.
It wants rule of law principles upheld.
EFF moved for a lower court Jewel ruling. It wants its case to go forward.
It wants Washington held accountable. It wants lawless NSA spying stopped.
It said "FISA preempts the state secret privilege." District court hearings
will begin this fall. Whether High Court ones follow won't be known for
some time. How they rule most often remains deeply troubling.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
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