Friday, January 19, 2007

Bush-Gonzales Cut and Run

Yesterday morning in Washington, D.C. at the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, people heard the U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales lay out some of his legal thinking to essentially cut out pieces of our U.S. Constitution, before the meeting itself was abruptly ended shortly after the break for lunch.

Some Highlights:

- That he does not know how many lawyers he fired because he’s fired so many for not agreeing with his new inquisition.

- That he simply wants federal judges to stop ruling on national security policies.

- There is “no expressed grant of habeas in the Constitution; there’s a prohibition against taking it away”
... Gonzales’s remark left Specter, the committee’s ranking Republican, stammering.

“Wait a minute,” Specter interjected. “The Constitution says you can’t take it away except in case of rebellion or invasion. Doesn’t that mean you have the right of habeas corpus unless there’s a rebellion or invasion?”

Gonzales continued, “The Constitution doesn’t say every individual in the United States or citizen is hereby granted or assured the right of habeas corpus. It doesn’t say that. It simply says the right shall not be suspended” except in cases of rebellion or invasion.

“You may be treading on your interdiction of violating common sense,” Specter said.
While Gonzales’s statement has a measure of quibbling precision to it, his logic is troubling because it would suggest that many other fundamental rights that Americans hold dear also don’t exist because the Constitution often spells out those rights in the negative.

For instance, the First Amendment declares that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Applying Gonzales’s reasoning, one could argue that the First Amendment doesn’t explicitly say Americans have the right to worship as they choose, speak as they wish or assemble peacefully. The amendment simply bars the government, i.e. Congress, from passing laws that would impinge on these rights.
Gonzales would nullify those constitutional liberties that are well recognized, by disregarding them much as amendments 8 and 9 are routinely nullified. Apparantly equal protection under the law is also an alien concept to him.

The meeting is reportedly cut short and not live televised by CNN.
The hearing ended very abruptly about a half hour after the lunch break. I thought there was either a bomb threat or the Senators were going to be arrested by bush. People on the Democratic Underground thread following the hearings were at a loss as to why the hearings ended so quickly. I don't think Gonzo was even asked for the number. No one is commenting on the very strange and abrupt end of this hearing.

CSPAN did not cover it LIVE as they are required to do under their charter to provide gavel to gavel coverage and one poster thought this was deliberate. Any further info on why Leahy adjourned so quickly would be appreciated. Has anyone seen our Congresspersons since the 2:38 pm adjournment of this hearing?

I hear that this site now has the hearings vid:

Posted by: share
Date: January 18, 2007 10:56 PM

Senate Committee
Justice Department Oversight
Washington, District of Columbia (United States)
ID: 196247 - 01/18/2007 - 3:35 - $240.00

Leahy, Patrick J.U.S. Senator, D-VT

Gonzales, Alberto R.Attorney General, Department of Justice

Attorney General Gonzales testified about Justice Department operations and answered questions on law enforcement and judicial policy. Among the issues he addressed were the recent decision by the Bush administration to submit domestic surveillance programs to federal court review despite earlier claims that to do so might endanger counter-terrorism operations. Members questioned him about the process agreed to by the foreign intelligence surveillance court, the nature of the requests being made for warrants, and the timing of the decision.

$240.00 Nice going CNN. That's some service.

And its a very bad sign about the lack of commitment of the mass media to do a proper job to educate the masses.

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