Thursday, June 19, 2008

Constituent Letter to Nancy Pelosi about FISA

An open letter to Nancy Pelosi, from a constituent of the 8th District of California

Madame Speaker:

I watched with great consternation the MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olbermann program tonight, and particularly the segment with guest Jonathan Turley, Constitutional law professor at GWU.

[embedded video, below the fold]
This [FISA] bill has quite literally no public value for citizens or civil liberties. It is reverse engineering — the type of thing the Bush Administration is famous for, and now the Democrats are doing: that is, to change the law to conform to past conduct. It's what any criminal would love to do. — Jonathan Turley, 2006-06-19, on MSNBC Countdown with Keith Olbermann
The bill gives blanket immunity, not only for past conduct in which the telecom companies co-operated with an illegal program, but for any future conduct. It eviscerates the Fourth Amendment by "allow[ing] the government to go into law-abiding homes, on their word alone, on their suspicion alone, to engage in warrantless surveillance." It is, as Professor Turley says, precisely what the Founders of this nation did NOT intend.

It is also, I can assure you, precisely what the citizens of the Eighth Congressional District of California do NOT want to see. President Bush and his followers have consistently taken the position that the Courts are an unnecessary inconvenience, standing in the way of the incorruptible President, when in fact they are our front line of defense against the potential tyranny of our own government. Without strong courts, we cannot remain a Nation of Laws. If the courts are eviscerated, it will not be long before a person of far fewer scruples even than Mr. Bush or Mr. Cheney, comes along to take away more of our freedoms. If there are no courts, or they are so weakened as to be unable effectively to oppose him (or her), then the President could simply declare that (s)he can dissolve the Congress "in a national emergency," if it, too, becomes an impediment to his ambitions. Mr. Bush himself said that one must never give in to legislative bullies, but that is exactly what this FISA Bill represents.

You cannot claim to represent the people of the Eighth District if you do not lay down your political life to block the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, most particularly the new Title VIII, "Protection of Persons Assisting the Government."

— Lincoln Madison,
a voter in Precinct 3821

cc: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Barbara Boxer

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