Men (and Women) in Black Defend the Constitution – comment overflow

Due to the overwhelming number of comments for this post, we’ve had to overflow them into a new entry.

Thanks everyone for your outpouring of support for this protest. We’re in 100% agreement with them as well.

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. I saw Gonzalez as he was coming out of the building, and boy did he look PISSED! I was very impressed with how well orchestrated and respectful the whole thing was, especially in light of the fact that some unsympathetic ear caught wind of the plan and threatened to “tell the dean” on us. Apparently the learned professors who have spent their careers actually studying the Constitution aren’t opposed to free speech. Is law school making me less rather than more jaded?

  2. You guys were actually at the protest? That’s awesome, and thank you for standing up against him.

  3. Just being technical, but your title is wrong, seeing as how most of us under the hoods were women. Thanks for the cool coverage!

  4. I’m just an average American. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much, to the folks that stood up like that. It’s hard to convey how much I, and so many others in the country, appreciate it.

  5. Thank you, students, for saying for us what we couldn’t say for ourselves. So very proud of you all; I hope my kids look back on this incident as I do the protests against the Vietnam War, as important and potent dissent against excess and overreach.

  6. If the students who were under the hoods and turning their backs are reading this…. THANK YOU! I watched the forum on CSPAN after seeing this diary at daily kos pop up this morning. My head was about to explode, listening to the garbage being spewed by AG… but it was worth sitting through it to see all of you!

    Congrats on the press coverage you’ve received, and keep up the fine work. I’d like to tip a virtual glass to each and every one of you who took part. Like someone else at dKos said, it gave me a glimmer of hope that maybe we’ll be able to fix this mess yet. Check out the thread at dKos – lots and lots of people are very, very proud of you today.

  7. I am so very proud of the students who stood up and peacefully protested Gonzales’ speech. As a mom who is old enough to be all of thier moms, and whose two sons would certainly do the sam if given the opportunity, I need to say how thrilling it is to see more of our future leaders and new voters speaking truth to power in such an eloquent and effective way. I have mentioned your protest in my letters to the Senate today and encourage you to continue to exercise your rights, educate yourselves and talk to your friends about the importance of voting in 06. Thank you.

    ps, call your parents.

  8. To everyone that protested: Thank you so much!!! I called family and friends to be sure they heard about it – Hope you could hear all the cheering, laughing and clapping echoing across the country! You made us all so proud!! Thank you! :)

  9. Thanks, everyone. We really appreciate all the kind words. As for the planning, this was really ad hoc — the University only announced the speech around noon the day before, leaving little time for planning. To make matters worse, they reserved most of the room for press and DoJ folks, leaving only about 5 rows for students.

  10. #4, Christina:

    Thank you for the follow-up report. Thrilled to hear you angered the used up little man, Abu Gonzales. Great protest and thank you all for carrying it out flawlessly!

  11. Bravo!! Courageous young American patriots. From another real American.

    You are the future and the energy of the future. Keep up the good work.

  12. That was truly inspiring. I had the sad misfortune of attending a speech by Ashcroft the other month, and it was a surreal shout-a-thon between “lefties” and “righties” … but what this administration deserves is the cold shoulder. We Americans should no longer pretend to treat these individuals as serious public servants. Respect and civility are a must, but until we have responsible men and women in positions of power, we must let the Bush Administration understand that we no longer take them seriously. Our tolerance is spent!

  13. Proud of you, and grateful, too! A very courageous protest in these intimidating times.

    (BTW, does “and women” really HAVE to be in parentheses in the title of this article? I know it’s a quip on the Will Smith movie, but, yanno… it’s not so good of a quip that it’s worth the women appearing to be an afterthought!)

    Thank you again to all who stepped up.

  14. Your protest was awe inspiring! Thank you so very much from so many of us.

    I saw this first on the DailyKos thread mentioned above, then on CNN, and then passed the photo on to readers at another blog.

    You are truly heroes to many of us. And now I’m going to pass this site on to others that they can say thank you as well!

  15. Q: Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder … I’m no lawyer, but my understanding is that the 4th Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American’s right against unlawful searches and seizures. Do you use –

    HAYDEN: [ex NSA national director] No, actually – the 4th Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure.

    Q: But the –

    HAYDEN: That’s what it says.

    Q: But the measure is probable cause, I believe.

    HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.

    Q: But does it not say probable –

    HAYDEN: No. The amendment says –

    Q: The court standard, the legal standard –

    HAYDEN: – unreasonable search and seizure.

    4TH AMENDMENT: 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

  16. I was moved to tears by the picture of the protesters. To stand and turn your back is a very effective peaceful protest and I applaud you, and the sign says it all! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  17. Hey everybody! Thanks for standing up for all our rights! Hang on to that Constitution for dear life!!!

  18. Kudos to spectacular and effective political theater. My spirits soared knowing that future lawyers have more respect and understanding of the Constitution than our chief law enforcer. You give us all hope and we admire your courage and integrity.

  19. I never thought I’d be prouder of those at Georgetown than after the Hoyas’ tremendous victory over the Blue Devils of Duke. But the images I saw today of the protests carried out in the face of the U.S. Attorney General — and the banner that couldn’t express an issue any more clearly and succinctly — has me hoping my children will one day be worthy of a Georgetown education. Thank you for the profound statement. GO HOYAS!

  20. Wow, thanks for all the responses. I’ll send a this link to all who were involved, as I know they will be thrilled to here it. Thanks again.

  21. I was having a bad day.. Alito vote 10 – 8.. just brought me down..praying for a filibuster… then I logged on to DailyKos and there you were. -So proud and filled with hope to see young patriotic americans stand up against the tyranny of the Bush Crime Family. took me back to to the 60’s anti war protests… PROUD PROUD PROUD!! Thanks and keep it up!

  22. Thank you! You did a wonderful thing. You are true American patriots. (I’m a lurker at Dailykos.)

  23. Today’s demonstration was an excellent and necessary response to misrepresentations of current attempts to criticize this administrations policies. Each of you acted with courage today, congratulations, and may you continue to actively push-back against these transgressions.

  24. My son graduated from Georgetown Law last year. I say it loud and say it proud, Thank God for the Lawyers!!

  25. Thank you so much for speaking truth to power. You are an inspiration. Now we need to send Bush’s congressional enablers a message in the voting booth next November!

  26. To those who stood against Alito today – thank you. Memorable, dignified, and effective. Across the country (and the world, I daresay), many are proud of you.

  27. err… Alito/Gonzales… my bad (guess what’s on my mind?) But perhaps there’s not much difference?

  28. My heartfelt thanks to you all. I appreciate your courage!

    This means so much to me. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    The photos of your protest will be worth more than thousands of words that have not been heard.

  29. Thanks for brightening my day with your eloquent protest. To see law students upholding the dignity and integrity of the law before an attorney general is disgracing it was heartening. We can all draw inspiration from what you did.

  30. Popping over from firedoglake to say thanks for showing the world what democracy looks like – wonderful and strong action. Bravo!!!

  31. I want to THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART! I’ve been so worried about my grandchildren and what the world will be like. Now you have given me such HOPE…THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  32. God bless you all for defending our Constitution and reminding us of the courage of the founders of this once great nation.

    May your patriotic actions inspire all Americans to stand up against the administration’s attempts to impose tyranny at home.

    (Also happy to see your protest happen at a Jesuit institution.)

  33. I have renewed faith in our next generation of lawyers, legislators and judges!

    A “tea party” for our time!

    A grateful DKos reader

  34. Thanks for taking a risk and communicating what so many of us believe. Saul Alinsky would be proud.

  35. Fantastic! Picture worth a thousand words.
    I’m proud that college students make a stand here.

  36. I wish i had been as brave as you when I was in college in the 70s! And I HOPE our Democratic legislators will be echo your bravery during the State of the Union Address, and turn their backs on Bush. Or perhaps they could just mimic the Animal House “cough in your hand and mutter Bullshit” move. Either would be A-OK with me!

  37. Ben Franklin would be delighted to see his words used to speak truth to this tyranny. Many, many are proud of you for what you did. You give America hope.

  38. Thank you for your creative patriotism. With brave citizens like you, our country may not be in as much danger as I’ve feared. Thank you so much and keep up the good work!

  39. Stephen:
    The photographer of wide shot was Charles Dharapak of AP. You may be able to contact him here. Four other photos by him are here.

  40. This sixty-year old grandma is very proud and grateful for your dignified demonstration today. Wear black and turn your back! The quiet insult makes a strong statement and an even stronger picture. Keep it up and spread the word.

  41. Thank you for “standing” up for what you believe in.
    American is worth it!
    Best to all of you,
    Tyler in California

  42. Thank you, one & all. You were there when it counted; when it was difficult. Nothing i can say would be more poinant than your actions today.
    Thank you.

  43. Awe inspiring — the First Amendment in action. It was powerful, brave, respectful, and its point was irrefutable. Those that are willing to trade liberties for security deserve neither. Study hard, graduate, take the bar, and don’t forget to do pro bono work. You give me hope for our country.

  44. That was fucking awesome! Made my week!, my month even!

    I loved it!

    THank you for speaking for me!

  45. I am proud of each and everyone of the law students who stood and gave such a wonderful protest to Gonzales. It was peaceful and dramatic at the same time. I got goosebumps watching it!

  46. Thank you all so much for taking such an awesome stand. Now that’s what I call Shock & Awe! Of course, you are probably all under surveillance now…..

  47. As a law school graduate from 1976, I am impressed by your courage today. Thank you for having the ‘ovaries’ to stick it to this administration in a polite yet direct and firm way. I am deeply proud of you.

  48. I tip my hat to you! Fabuloso! You made Ben Franklin proud…

    From a grateful DKos reader.

  49. Good job. Well done. With a few, powerful words and riveting images, this has got to get covered. This is the beginning of a loud awakening. Much gratitude, and hope you have good lawyers. :)

  50. Wow! You guys (well, really gals) did what our Congress has not been able to do. Your group set an example of peaceful, non-violent protest MLK would be proud of. As a concerned citizen, I appreciate your effort, courage and diplomacy. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVED IT!! I hope your group continues to fight the good fight, we need you now more than ever. Your bravery is an inspiration to me and I think to others as well. I’ve set the background on my computer to your photo and I choke up with tears when I see your brave faces set with such resolve. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough.

  51. as a former public defender for 15 years thanks for showing gonzales that torture and spying are unconstitutional. you will need the same courage you showed today in future years to stand up against all the neo fascist federalist society types and today was a good start. good on you.

  52. i laughed, i cried, you touched my humanity.

    THANK YOU —- keep up the fight; bush and his cowardly cabal will be brought to justice!!!!!

  53. Thank you so much for doing what so many of us wish we could. Glad to see your making the most of law school. I can’t wait to welcome you into the legal profession. We definately need more lawyers like you.

  54. Ah, see this is nice. I just have to wonder why this is the first time we’ve seen this kind of effective protest since the news of this came out. I mean I’m in Athens, OH for christ’s sake, not only is it in the middle of nowhere, but we’d be preaching to the choir if we were walking up and down Court St. This was a highly effective protest, very nice. Now we need more. Bush was at Kansas State today/yesterday/something like that answering UNSCREENED QUESTIONS (why does that have to sound so out of the ordinary?)!!!!, where’s his next stop???? When are we hitting Penn. Ave.?

  55. We are all interested in those news photos of you, to see who you are. You come across as a group of regular people.

    You are also a group of extraordinary people. This administration, with its “free speech zones,” its controlled speech audiences, its defiantly unresponsive press briefings, its repetitive talking points, its secrecy of what it is up to, very effectively restricts and controls dissent. You have broken through that.

    So you saw your opportunity, recognized what was required, organized, and carried out what was required in an extraordinary way. The style, the specifics of how you did it, come across as exactly right. You communicated truth.

    A hundred thanks, and more, from all of us, to you, for it.

  56. I’m glad that the protest wasn’t shut down. I think it was a completely valid and effective form of political expression. I wish more of the people who worry about the Bush administration’s activities would do constructive things like these people…

  57. What patriotism! Thank you: for reminding us how abhorrent torture is, for reminding us of the lofty ideals of our Constitution, and for showing our shame at an administration which shows open contempt for our most noble beliefs.

    Thank you.

  58. It is refreshing that despite all the efforts of the Federalist Society, there are some law students who still believe in the rule of law.

  59. I told my husband – a Georgetown Law graduate from ’68 – about what you did yesterday and the grin on his face was worth a million bucks!


  60. Your demonstration was deeply moving. Thank you all for standing up for freedom. Ben Franklin would be proud.

  61. To the law students at Georgetown, I applaud your silent protest. You were perfect, and I know any one of you would clean Gonzales’ clock in a debate on the constitution and law. From this day forward, Bush and his administration will only go to KS to deliver their proproganda.

  62. Thankyou so much for excersizing your right to free speech! I believe you have started something small that will spread like wildfire. You are truely American citizens!

  63. I just wanted to express my thanks to all of you who courageously stood up against this threat to democracy.

  64. hey hoyas, just stopped by here thanks to a link on dkos. i just wanted to say that your protest gave me hope. i’m proud of you for standing up for our constitution. you did a GREAT thing and i hope you will continue to stand up for democracy and the rule of law as you continue your education and careers. this texan supports you 100%!

  65. As someone who has spent 30+ years keeping this country strongy both militarily and in space, let me express my thanks for your commitment to democracy. I’m an “old time” conservative who is appalled at the trampling of our basic freedoms.

  66. A billion thanks to all of you. Yesterday was a heapin’ helpin’ of concentrated crap for me personally for a number of reasons (but due in part to the America-hating-Bush-lovers I come in daily contact with). But when I saw the Torture Czar glaring at the backs of your heads in that AP wire photo, I felt refreshed. Thanks again.

  67. Just a simple thanks, from a soon-to-be Mom in California. You give me hope for the future.

  68. My faith in the American people to take back their country has
    been renewed. Many, many thanks to all who participated in the protest. You are courageous and you are true heroes.
    Well Done!

  69. From NJ, we’re all sincerely thankful to, and proud of, all the students who took action to express our opposition to what we know are illegal and oppressive actions and policies of GWB and the neocons. Shame on Abu Gonzales for using his office and being paid with taxpayers’ money while serving as a propagandist for Bush and trampling on the constitution. More power to the Hoya law students, the true patriots!

  70. I have to say, I find that “those who would sacrifice liberty…” quote moronic. Did Benjamin Franklin really say that? If so, it wasn’t his finest moment. Taken to its logical conclusion, it implies that gun control laws, the drinking age, safety regulations, even major things like fraud and libel laws should be thrown by the wayside. That’s a piece of hardcore libertarianism that I doubt many of the protesters would agree with.

  71. Outstanding protest. Thanks from all of us you stood up for.

    BTW Yaron, yes the quote is by Franklin, but it was shortened somewhat (probably to fit on a sheet). The full text may make more sense to you:

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

  72. It is refreshing that despite all the efforts of the Federalist Society, there are some law students who still believe in the rule of law.

    Actually, this Federalist Society member would have very much liked to have been standing up there with the protesters. It’s a big tent and there’s a lot of hardcore libertarians in it.

  73. Thank you. This was a very important, also beautiful, also very effective protest. I’m proud of you.

  74. I’d like to add my thanks to this site — your protest was a pure class act, dignified, strong, moving. Actions such as this will help not only your fellow citizens but also those in positions of power who need inspiration to truly represent those who elected them. This Administration has abused its power for a long time, and those in government who oppose them need your example as much as the rest of us. Thank you!!

  75. A big thank you! from across the river. Your protest was brilliant; it’s a disgrace that this man is even a lawyer, much less the top lawyer for the country.

  76. ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing’

    I will of course amend this to say “good men and women”.

    That being said, I must thank all of you and your efforts to protest the acts of this adminsitration.

    History will look very kindly upon you all.


    -Greg B

  77. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Thank you so much. This was brilliantly done. I also have to ask: Is it true that you were left alone and continued your protest throughout Gonzalez’ speech? If that’s true, Georgetown University also deserves our respect and thanks. They should be proud of you – and you of them.

  78. Thank you for having the courage to stand up up for what you believe in, and for so eloquently demonstrating that our constitution is a whole lot more than a “goddamned piece of paper”. You have made me proud to be an American again.

  79. THANK YOU. It’s clear your generation will have a lot of work ahead, undoing the damage done by this administration’s 8 years. As a mom of 2 daughters in college I am so sorry to see what is becoming of the nation I am no longer proud of. It’s time for the religous leaders to ask god FORGIVE america. We don’t deserve blessings when we allow crimes against humanity in our name by our own government. I have hope today we will follow your lead and find our voice as a nation.
    Laurie in Maine

  80. Thanks – a million times, THANK YOU!!! Such a simple act of bravery and honesty. Now THAT’S patriotism at it’s best.

  81. I’m a non american who has watched with growing horror as Bush and his dreadful associates has dragged the US and the world into the dystopian security obsessed global culture we are unlucky enough to inhabit.

    Many thanks for restoring a little faith in american democracy.

  82. I’m glad that there are young people in this country who aren’t afraid to speak truth to power…

    Coach Thompson would be proud of each and every one of you…

    God bless you…

    You GO HOYAS!!!!

  83. Thank you for standing up and opposing this man. I have high hopes for this new generation of Americans. Bless you all.

  84. You rotten kids. Why aint you spending your collage years doing keggers like our grate leeder? You think you know it all. Nothin but a bunch of varmints!

    Thank god for our grate leader, his lovey wife and his assistant in God’s work, vise prezident chany.

    And thanks God for REEL SKOOLS like Kanzass State, wear the Prezident is treeted iwth the respect he DESERVES!

  85. You children are retarded. Gotta love idealist college children who think they know how the real world works. Congrats, you made asses out of yourself in front of a high ranking official, and your other young and naive peers think you are special. But people who actually know what they are talking about think you are disrespectful children.

  86. How are they any less disrespectful for protesting against him than you are for protesting against them on this site?

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again-THANK YOU GUYS for doing this. I’m proud of my generation and my country once more.

  87. Jarrod,

    I, for one, am disrespectful of any politician (elected or appointed) that displays utter disregard for the Constitution — but at 43, I could hardly be considered a child.

    It’s a good thing our founding fathers were disrepectful to the King, too. I suppose you are the type that would have just gone along with the status quo, though.

  88. Speaking as a Georgetown Law alumna, your actions in this protest make me extremely proud, and, frankly, more likely to give some money to the place! Seriously, you guys did a terrific public service, and I’m sure David Cole, at least, was very proud of you. Keep it up.

  89. Great job! Wonderful protest you made every medium in the country. A whole lot of people are proud of you!

  90. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You make our founding father’s very proud. Keep it up!

  91. Excellent work, all of you-and those of you covering and reporting and spreading the word on the story. A proud moment of protest and civil disobedience, and I can think of only a few more deserving self-important people who deserve to see the full brunt of our disgust with their actions and policies.

  92. Thank you young people for understanding what is supposed to be YOUR rights today, the need for protecting them and for doing something about what is wrong today.


  93. This comment thread is already massive, but one more THANKS! sure can’t hurt. Keep it up, folks! Let’s all remember to keep liberty in the forefront and reason on the political agenda.

  94. Now the real test is whether or not these same people who protested Gonzales speech would have felt the same way after September 11th. If any one of them shook their fist at the government for not doing enough to stop tragedy, they have just devalued their statement by hypocrisy. You can’t have it both ways.

  95. First of all, congratulations to all who participated in the protest. Well struck!
    However I believe that there was a fundamental mischaracterization of the AG’s responses in the NPR interview. viz: “Seriously, he said on national radio that he wasn’t using the FISA courts because he couldn’t come up with sufficient justification (for a court that has only turned down ten warrants in the course of its entire existence) for the surveillance ahead of time, or even be sure that they could round up the justification within the 72-hour emergency provision.”
    What he said was that before the warrants were issued they had to be vetted a number of people and groups and that he had to be assured that they were legit and would be approved. His argument is effectively that because they were
    justifiable there was no need to go through the formality of actually submitting them to the FISA court. High-handed? Arrogant? Dismissive of the law? Yes, but not in the manner described.
    I’m just sayin’.

  96. Thank you!!! Thank you for your courage and your eloquence. I only wish I had been there. Never give up, never give in-we will prevail.

  97. Again, Congratulations and THANK YOU. Thought you might like to know you made the Rocky Mountain News (Conservative) and the Denver Post (slightly less conservative) newspapers. I got another chill and thrill when I saw the pictures. Little mention in the article of who or why, but the picture spoke volumes. Please encourage this kind of protest in other venues.
    Turning your back on this administration (who has turned its back on all but the wealthy, powerful and well-connected) is such poetic justice and very hard to ignore.
    Someday, you will tell your grandchildren about this famous protest.

  98. You guys were in my local paper today, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat… and I have to take my hat off to you. It’s good to see that some people still understand what liberty is and what the Bill of Rights stands for.

    So, congratulations – be proud: you’re true patriots.

  99. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. It is not only that you stood up and showed your dissention, you did it with class and power. It was intelligent and peaceful. No ham-handed pie-throwing or name-calling. Of course, the trick is to convince others to turn away from fear and intolerance – to turn their backs on representatives who would support the Bush Blight.

    A recent one from Al Gore:

    “I call upon members of Congress in both parties to uphold your oath of office and defend the Constitution,” he said. “Stop going along to get along. Start acting like the independent and co-equal branch of American government that you are supposed to be under the constitution of our country.”

    It is time to stop going along to get along… and I think many folks are starting to feel that they have gone along for too long – and really don’t like where they have been taken.

    I hope that I have a chance to make a statement such as yours.


  100. I am proudly displaying this picture on my computer desktop. Thanks for not being the “apathetic generation” we keep hearing about. True patriots all of you! And let’s not forget Tiffany Cooper at Kansas State. Kudos

  101. Thank you so much for your heroic demonstration! It was awesome – this from a Vietnam protester and grandma. Thank you thank you. Lois Quick

  102. “yes the quote is by Franklin, but it was shortened somewhat (probably to fit on a sheet). The full text may make more sense to you:

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    Comment by Carolita — 2006-01-25”

    Not likely, or else they would have used “safety”, not “security”. Much more likely that they just had faith the quote was correct, and since they agreed with it, didn’t bother to check it. The shortened quote, by eliminating the qualifiers, is significantly different.

    I wouldn’t be completely sure Franklin would approve.

    But hey, what’s an inaccurate quote among believers? And all men are equal, but some are more equal than others.

  103. I wonder if this story reached the Y0-YO’s at Free Republic? It doesn’t matter, all I can say is GO GEORGETOWN!

  104. Vietnam Vet: she said she was simply a Vietnam protester, not a spit on the troops and call them names hippy.

    But I guess everything looks like a nail when your only experience is with a hammer.

  105. Just heard about this today. A-fxxking-men dude.
    Fight the power!!
    Say “NO!” to the Gestapo!

  106. You, my friends, are awesome human beings. Sweet protest. Am glad that there is a group of people with the cojones to protest, and talk about it afterwards.

  107. A very heartfelt thank you! It is so easy to become discouraged with the main stream media becoming nothing more than 24/7 GOP propaganda machines. You tend to forget that there are right-thinking, brave Americans out there willing to fight for our civil liberties. You have lightened my heart, and given me faith and hope.

  108. What he said was that before the warrants were issued they had to be vetted a number of people and groups and that he had to be assured that they were legit and would be approved. His argument is effectively that because they were
    justifiable there was no need to go through the formality of actually submitting them to the FISA court. High-handed? Arrogant? Dismissive of the law? Yes, but not in the manner described. I’m just sayin’.

    That’s not what I heard. He was clear that, even if he wanted to use the emergency provisions of FISA, he had to make sure that he would be able to muster the probable cause within the 72 hours to satisfy the FISA court. To me, that means that this surveillance wasn’t (necessarily) justifiable to a neutral magistrate (the FISA judge) and thus wouldn’t comply with the Fourth Amendment or the statute.

    Either it’s “justifiable” or it’s not. If it is, get the warrant. If not, it’s an illegal search.

    Yours truly,

  109. You’re right. Americans should have full liberty to receive phone calls from members of al qaeda, a sworn enemy of the United States. They should have full liberty to collaborate with those who would attack us, and they should have the liberty to do it without fear of the government finding out about it.

    Somehow, I don’t think that’s the kind of liberty to which Franklin was referring.

    It’s not like they’re tapping the phones of Democrats so they can imprison them for political dissent (precisely the type of liberty that was being taken from those who fought the king.) I think this is going a bit far.

  110. You’re right. Americans should have full liberty to receive phone calls from members of al qaeda, a sworn enemy of the United States. They should have full liberty to collaborate with those who would attack us, and they should have the liberty to do it without fear of the government finding out about it.

    Gee, if the government had proof that those things were happening, they could take that proof to a FISA judge and get a secret warrant for a wiretap. But they don’t have proof, so a “career professional” in the NSA gets to say that there are connections and we’re to believe him/her with no neutral oversight.

    Fuck that noise.