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Still a Law Unto Themselves

Many were heartened by Attorney General nominee Mike Muskasey's responses at his confirmation hearings, particularly his answers regarding torture. And while some worry about his equivocating about whether or not waterboarding constitutes torture, it was his response on the issue of surveillance that I think is far more telling. In an exchange with Sen. Russ Feingold, Mukasey argued that there would be insistences in which President Bush's Article II authority would trump any laws that he says attempt to limit that authority. Now Mukasey did hedge a bit in saying he would ensure "push doesn't come to shove" but that he would even leave the door open to the possibility is a glaring example of why Congress needs to stand strong in the FISA fracas.

Leaving aside the possible monetary improprieties of Sens. Rockefeller and Reid (who has now said a vote on the FISA bill would proceed despite Dodd's call to hold it), there has always been an underlaying claim that has never been addressed. And that is that the Bush administration continues to insist that it has the authority to conduct any sort of activity regardless of any laws making such activity a crime. I've harped and harped on this issue in the past. That the Dems still refuse to confront it is a sure sign that they too may be aware that all of this haranguing about the rule of law is just so much hot air. It would make their fecklessness all the more appalling.

So long as Bush claims the authority to circumvent the law and Congress does not confront him on this, the law and Congress are essentially meaningless.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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