Saturday, December 24, 2005

Great Caesar's Court

In the shadow of NYT's story on the scope of NSA domestic spying is discovery of a memo written in 1984 by Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito while he served in the Reagan administration.

In the memo, Alito argued that the Attorney General should be immune from prosecution for approving illegal wiretaps. That this memo has come to light in the middle of the Snoopgate fiasco is significant, and perhaps intentional, but it may mask what is really the larger issue.

While nobody was paying a whole lot of attention, Mister Bush was busy filling empty Federal District and Circuit Court benches with Federalist Society judges. Federalists, as a rule, are weak on individual liberties and strong on granting the President powers that Article II of the Constitution doesn't even hint at.

It is no longer outside the realm of credible speculation that we could wake up one day to find that the courts have declared the President to be Absolute Ruler of the United States.

Heck, there's a darn good argument that says they already have.


And I suppose you've noticed this trend: in the echo chamber, judges who grant extra-constitutional powers to the President are called "strict constructionists." Judges who insist on upholding individual constitutional liberties are "activists."


  1. Dammit, Jeff. We actually have a little sunshine this morning (normally it's grey here until April) and here you are, scaring the piss out of me ;o)