Hero of the Hour: Judge Anna Diggs Taylor

Federal Judge Orders End to Warrantless Wiretapping (NYT)
Excerpt: A federal judge in Detroit ruled today that the Bush administration’s eavesdropping program is illegal and unconstitutional, and she ordered that it cease at once.

District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor found that President Bush exceeded his proper authority and that the eavesdropping without warrants violated the First and Fourth Amendment protections of free speech and privacy.

“It was never the intent of the Framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights,” she wrote, in a decision that the White House and Justice Department said they would fight to overturn.

Judge Taylor is definitely the hero of the hour -- if only for an hour: you know the Bush gang and their Congressional bootlickers won't let this stand. And they can probably scaremonger at least one of the 5-4 Hamdan judges into joining the anti-Constitution faction on the Court to strike down Judge Taylor's decision. (After it's first struck down in a friendy appeals court, then fought up the line by the ACLU). Still, it feels good – real good – to bask in the light of law and reason again. For this relief – for this break in the years-long stinking murk of Bush's two-bit tyranny – much thanks. Judge Taylor – molodets!

Glenn Greenwald, as you might expect, has more. Some excerpts:

The court made its scorn quite clear for the administration's Yoo theory of executive power because, as the court put it, "there are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution." Citing Youngstown again, the court made clear that even in time of war, and even with regard to the President's Commander-in-Chief powers, the President is subject to constitutional restrictions -- a proposition long unquestioned in our system of government until the Bush administration began inventing radical theories of executive power…

Let's resoundingly clear up two widely disseminated misconceptions, the first of which is being quite deliberately tossed around:

(1) Even with this Order, the Bush administration is free to continue to do all the eavesdropping on terrorists they want to do. They just have to do so with approval of the FISA court -- just like all administrations have done since 1978, just as the law requires, and just as they did when eavesdropping as part of the surveillance they undertook on the U.K. terror plot.

(2) The court's ruling that warrantless eavesdropping violates the Fourth and First Amendments clearly means (although the decision is far from a model of clarity) that Congress cannot authorize warrantless eavesdropping with legislation, which would preclude enforcement of the Specter bill…

Glenn also notes that the rightwing smear machine is gearing up fast to attack Taylor. Their main points of demonization so far seem to be that she is an African-American judge who – gasp! – "has used her positions to advance civil rights throughout the United States;" she was appointed by Jimmy Carter; and she was once married to an African-American congressman who – gasp! – represented a heavily African-American district in – (shudder with whiteboy panic) – downtown Detroit. An uppity black woman telling a Texas tycoon that he can't do whatever he pleases – good god, it's the Right-wing's worst nightmare!

Again, the sweet savor of this victory for freedom won't last – we'll be drinking bitter waters again soon enough. But it sure does taste good on the way down.