"It's Time to Censure a Lawless President"In today's article from The Nation, John Nichols argues that the courts have come to their senses by the ruling against Pres. Bush's illegal wiretapping of domestic calls. Bush has done this without abandon, hastily pointing out at every turn that he is "protecting" Americans -- at the price of the spirit of individual freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
This court ruling is a victory for those of us who, heaven forbid, want the executive branch to follow the law rather than bend it to their will. Nichols is right in calling for the political system now to embrace a full censure of Pres. Bush for his actions in this instance, and I encourage both of my senators, Menendez and Lautenberg, to co-sponsor Feingold's censure resolution. By censuring the president for eschewing U.S. laws, Congress could send a strong message about his other questionably-unlawful programs, particularly in surveillance.
The argument that the elimination of the warrantless wiretapping program compromises the U.S. in the war on terror is a fallacious one: in fact, the president has so much leeway and authority -- including conducting a warrantless wiretap and then having days later to get authorization from the courts -- in this matter that there is no compromising but instead following the rule of the law.