Constitutional expert and best-selling author Glenn Greenwald reminds us that the Supreme Court’s Hamdan decision not only outlawed Bush’s military tribunals, but also removed any conceivable argument to support Bush’s illegal wiretapping programs.
Greenwald: “Journalists should begin asking the Justice Department every day what their legal justification for warrantless eavesdropping is now that Hamdan has rendered frivolous their prior legal arguments in defense of the President.”
Glenn Greenwald at Crooks and Liars:
Ever since the Supreme Court in the Hamdan case ruled that the Bush administration?s Guantanamo Bay military commissions violate both federal law and the Geneva Conventions, the President has been paying lip service to his “willingness” to comply with that ruling. But the Court?s ruling goes far beyond the limited question of whether military commissions are legal. To arrive at its decision, the Court emphatically rejected the administration?s radical theories of executive power, and in doing so, rendered entirely discredited the administration?s only defenses for eavesdropping on Americans without the warrants required by law.
Actual compliance with the Court?s ruling, then, compels the administration to immediately cease eavesdropping on Americans in violation of FISA. If the administration continues these programs now, then they are openly defying the Court and the law with a brazeness and contempt for the rule of law that would be unprecedented even for them
The starting point for any discussion of the illegal eavesdropping program should be the fact that the United States has had a law in place for almost 30 years now which makes it a criminal offense ? punishable by 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine ? to eavesdrop on Americans without judicial approval and oversight. And everyone, including the Bush administration, acknowledges that they are doing exactly what the criminal prohibits ? that is, eavesdropping on Americans without the warrants required by that law.