Patterico's Pontifications

8/18/2006

L.A. Times Fails to Consult Legal Experts on NSA Decision

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General — Patterico @ 7:01 am



As I expected, In its story on yesterday’s NSA ruling, the L.A. Times consulted with no independent legal experts regarding the validity of the opinion’s reasoning. That’s because independent experts almost universally decry the analysis as shoddy and unreasoned.

And that’s the experts who agree with the result. For example, as much as he loved the opinion’s result, even Disingenuous Constitutional Scholar Glenn Greenwald was forced to admit that the Fourth Amendment ruling was “without much reasoning or even explicit arguments,” and the First Amendment ruling was also made “without all that much reasoning.”

If The Times had consulted legal experts, it would have had to report their belief that, regardless of the result, the opinion is junk. As I said last night:

It is one of the most embarrassing pieces of garbage I have ever read. The idea that a sitting federal judge wrote such a shoddy piece of junk in a high-profile case should make even the most rabid Bush-hater squirm.

It uses the word “undisputedly” (nine times!) in the place of legal reasoning. It disregards principles of statutory and constitutional interpretation, and fails even to mention the major arguments against its result.

Instead of legal experts discussing the opinion’s reasoning, we get political reaction on the result, from people like ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero; plaintiff Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations; Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice); Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank); Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.); the Republican National Committee.

Failing to consult legal experts when a liberal judge issues a shoddy ruling is a long-standing practice of the paper. They did it with the Pledge of Allegiance case as well. When Judge Lawrence Karlton issued a pathetic leftist decision that legal experts universally mocked, no legal experts were consulted — because if they had been, the decision’s silliness would have been patent.

And so it is with yesterday’s decision. The failure to consult legal experts allows the paper’s editorial side to argue that the opinion “convincingly rebuts” key Bush Administration positions on the NSA program. The allegedly convincing rebuttal consists of nothing more than repeatedly using the word “undisputedly.” Pretty convincing!

Naturally, the paper also fails to disclose Judge Taylor’s previous questionable actions in attempting to steer the Michigan affirmative action case to a judge likely to rule for the leftist result. If a conservative judge had issued a conservative ruling on the NSA program, and had previously steered a controversial case on affirmative action to a conservative judge, do you think The Times would have mentioned that? Of course it would have! When the conservative judge I worked for decided cases, the author of today’s article, Henry Weinstein, dragged up nasty things Stephen Yagman had said about him months or years before — and those weren’t even true.

Sure, the paper mentions that Judge Taylor is a Carter appointee. Big deal. I predicted that to a colleague yesterday, just like I predicted that her previous questionable actions would not be mentioned, and legal experts would not be consulted. When one can accomplish such effective distortion by omission, it’s okay to say who appointed her. Gives that false patina of accuracy. With the emphasis on the word “false.”

29 Responses to “L.A. Times Fails to Consult Legal Experts on NSA Decision”

  1. They should have called the guys from the
    Straight Dope
    . They think the decision is Well written, well thought out and bullet proof.

    chad (582404)

  2. Failing Grades…

    Bryan Cunningham, a former CIA official and federal prosecutor in the Clinton administration doesn\’t think very much of the logic Judge Anna Diggs-Taylor used in making yesterday\’s ruling on the overseas wiretapping case. Well, maybe, \”doesn\…

    Overtaken by Events (bf3cb8)

  3. Ah Chad, I go searching for “The Straight Dope” on the web and find it is a collection of comedy columns. Maybe Dean Baquet and the boys are looking for a new career. Certainly their newspaper editorial page is laughable.

    Mike Myers (55ef4a)

  4. I had never heard of it before one of them linked to me for smearing Judge Taylor. I posted there and told them I even call my mother an f***ing moron so I don’t really think of that as a smear.

    chad (582404)

  5. I used to think that liberal judges were the cream of our judicial elite, I was a liberal, I voted for Carter (but after Nixon I’d have voted for a dog), but within a couple of years of Carter I was ready to bail. Too late, the damage had been done. You do a great job of shaking what is left of the liberal education that is in my head. Thanx for the piece.

    Howard Veit (28df94)

  6. Maybe “Carter appointee” is code language at the LAT for “hopelessly inept judicial lackey.”

    sharon (03e82c)

  7. More on the ACLU V. NSA decision…

    At Patterico’s Pontifications, Patterico himself rips the LA Times a new one for its biased article covering Judge Taylor’s ruling in the NSA terrorist surveillance case. It’s journalism like that made me drop the times years ago….

    Public Secrets: from the files of the Irishspy (72c8fd)

  8. Is it possible (once the ruling gets overturned) for the judge to be impeached, not for the result but for the lack of judicial reasoning (especially given previous atypical behavior)? I have heard three lawyers (Hewitt, his colleague from Clairmont, and some big name constitutional lawyer on Bennett this am) state the opinion was unacceptible work for a law student to turn in. I guess there are two questions:
    1. If everyone was intellectually honest, could she be impeached?
    2. Given political realities, any chance of it?
    Thank you.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  9. Just an aside . . . I cancelled my subscription to the L.A.Times last week. The woman asked me why and I told her it was because of their editorial stance and how their straight reporting had been influenced by that stance. I told her I had been receiving the Times on my doorstep for 35 years, even before the subscription was in my name. She replied that the L.A. Times was responsible to a global readership, to which I replied, “that about says it all”. She didn’t reply.

    Chuck Brooke (255541)

  10. The liberals left on the bench are doing their best to take us to the point where “judicial irrelevance” will be similar to what this country experienced during the Civil War.

    What is ironic to me is that today it’s the progressives (so called) that engage in this judicial chicanery, not the reactionaries (although today’s leftists can arguably be described as reactionaries).

    I’m hopeful that this will shine even more light on the good folks that can do anything better than George Bush, even though they can’t tell us what that is. With elections coming in November, that’s an important thing to keep in mind. If I were the L.A. Times, I’d ignore the facts, too- they’re simply to damaging to the liberal goal of screwing the country up beyond all repair.

    trentk269 (3d3bfe)

  11. There is no argument. Because, for her, it really is undisputable.

    There is (obviously) no opinion but the liberal opinion.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  12. It uses the word “undisputedly” (nine times!) in the place of legal reasoning.

    That seems to be the reasoning of the whole leftist movement. “Everybody knows” and “obviously” in their arguments indicate that there is no ‘there’ there.

    Patricia (2cc180)

  13. The LAT didn’t so much fail to consult legal experts, cuz to say that they failed implies that they actually tried. Better to say that the LAT refused to consult legal experts.

    Cartoon Guild Boss (f9de13)

  14. It uses the word “undisputedly” (nine times!) in the place of legal reasoning

    Is that sort of like “the decision’s silliness being patent”?

    BTD_Venkat (baf187)

  15. Is that sort of like “the decision’s silliness being patent”?

    Why, no. No, it isn’t. Not when I have provided a link to a post with numerous other links showing, in detail, why the decision was patently silly.

    But thanks for playing.

    Patterico (50c3cd)

  16. The legal decision is on more solid ground than most people know.

    James (d0ebaa)

  17. “The legal decision is on more solid ground than most people know.”

    Say it is “undisputedly on more solid ground” and you will have the makings of a court decision.

    sharon (63d8f8)

  18. Re: Judge Taylor’s decision in ACLU, et. al. v. National Security Agency, et. al.,

    Plaintiffs here contend that the TSP [”Terrorist Surveillance Program”] has interfered with their ability to carry out their professional responsibilities in a variety of ways, including that the TSP has had a significant impact on their ability to talk with sources, locate witnesses, conduct scholarship, engage in advocacy and communicate with persons who are outside of the United States, including in the Middle East and Asia. Plaintiffs have submitted several declarations to that effect. For example, scholars and journalists such as plaintiffs Tara McKelvey, Larry Diamond, and Barnett Rubin indicate that they must conduct extensive research in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and must communicate with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorist suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations. In addition, attorneys Nancy Hollander, William Swor, Joshua Dratel, Mohammed Abdrabboh, and Nabih Ayad indicate that they must also communicate with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorist suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations, and must discuss confidential information over the phone and email with their international clients. All of the Plaintiffs contend that the TSP has caused clients, witnesses and sources to discontinue their communications with plaintiffs out of fear that their communications will be intercepted.

    “The plaintiffs leftists communicate with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorists suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations.”

    There, fixed that.

    All of the opinions on this judicial farce seem to miss one important point. Why would a judge be so eager to reach such a conclusion so as to potentially jeopardize her career? Who is she serving? (The opinion subjects her to considerable ridicule, and deliberately ignoring precedent has been cited by some as grounds for sanctions, for example.)

    Here’s a good reason:

    The leftist “plaintiffs” have admitted they’ve been communicating with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorist suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations. They know they’re dirty, and they suspect or know the NSA has the goods on them and that prosecution is likely.

    Having shopped for and found a friendly in-the-pocket leftist federal judge to whimsically declare the NSA surveillance program unconstitutional, and injunctioning it to stop immediately, is about the only way for the “plaintiffs” to avoid being destroyed and going to jail.

    Of course, you and I may get killed as a result, but what’s a little death and destruction to good leftist malignant narcissists in their pursuit of their dreamy Marxist utopia?

    sss111 (b937db)

  19. The New York Times does what the LA Times didn’t:

    http://tinyurl.com/g5ndq

    August 19, 2006
    Experts Fault Reasoning in Surveillance Decision
    By ADAM LIPTAK

    Even legal experts who agreed with a federal judge’s conclusion on Thursday that a National Security Agency surveillance program is unlawful were distancing themselves from the decision’s reasoning and rhetoric yesterday.

    They said the opinion overlooked important precedents, failed to engage the government’s major arguments, used circular reasoning, substituted passion for analysis and did not even offer the best reasons for its own conclusions.

    Discomfort with the quality of the decision is almost universal, said Howard J. Bashman, a Pennsylvania lawyer whose Web log provides comprehensive and nonpartisan reports on legal developments. . .

    Bradley J. Fikes (f912b4)

  20. Do you realy ever expect the MSELL A TIMES to ever tell the truth its just your avrage liberal left-wing rag SQUAWK SQUAWK

    krazy kagu (272de2)

  21. The Times subscription staff must have gotten a script to use for those calling to cancel. When I cancelled in 2003, the girl asked why and I told her something similar. The last straw had been a particularly obnoxious Scheer column. She laughed and said she was getting a lot of calls like that.

    Ten years ago, the Times, in a fairly advanced policy, appended e-mail addresses to op-ed pieces so you could communicate with the writer. I had a number of interesting exchanges, including Scheer oddly enough. They must have stopped that as the volume and the tone of comments pointed out how far they were getting away from their traditional readership. Of course, maybe falling subscription numbers brought some belt-tightening and that was a first economy.

    The judge is 75 years old so maybe God will give us a break soon. She is not our only problem, however. The TSA bureaucrats are now giving terrorist organizations tours of airport security so they can be sure not to single Muslim terrorists. With defenders like that, Judge Taylor drops to the second level of dangers to the Republic. She will be quickly over-ruled and The Times won’t mention that either.

    Mike K (a55167)

  22. Thanks to the subversion of the NYT and LAT, the terrorists someday will probably slip through and take out a big blue city along with its prestige MSM newspaper and all the leftists in charge. Perhaps then we’ll be able to start fighting the war to win.

    Jack (aaf3c5)

  23. […] The L.A. Times yesterday published yet another article on the NSA decision on the secret surveillance program. It once again fails to cite widespread expert opinion that the decision’s reasoning is laughable and incoherent. L.A. Times readers will not know that fact unless they read blogs or other newspapers. Those foolish enough to get all their news from the L.A. Times (a scary thought, to be sure!) are left in the dark, as usual. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » New York Times Cites Legal Experts Slamming Judge Taylor’s Decision — L.A. Times Readers Are Still in the Dark . . . (421107)

  24. the terrorists someday will probably slip through and take out a big blue city

    And they’ll of course blame Bush

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  25. And they’ll of course blame Bush

    They do have a different idea as to who should be in charge.

    actus (6234ee)

  26. They do have a different idea as to who should be in charge

    Which of course is an entirely different matter altogher.

    But don’t worry actus, as long have a “different idea of who should be in charge” no matter what they say, true or false, is ok then.

    The Ace (8d7f7b)

  27. Which of course is an entirely different matter altogher.

    At least part of why people in blue states don’t want Bush in charge is because they disagree with him as to how to protect America’s target cities.

    So not so entirely different matter.

    Frankly I think most of our disagreements would disappear if you would stop being so totalist.

    actus (6234ee)

  28. […] But why cave now? Granted, the program was ruled unconstitutional by a federal district judge in August, but in an opinion the general crappiness of which was widely remarked upon at the time. Why not press the issue and take your chances with the Supremes? If they upheld the program it would fall to Congress to override it legislatively, and how would they manage that knowing that they’d need 67 votes to beat Bush’s veto? These are people who can’t muster the balls to do better than a symbolic nonbinding resolution on matters where 65% of the country is behind them. […]

    Hot Air » Blog Archive » Bush caves on warrantless wiretaps, hands program off to FISA court (d4224a)

  29. […] And so the unbelievably incompetent opinion by partisan hack Anna Diggs Taylor stands. And the credibility of this Administration appears to take another serious hit. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Bypassing FISA Court Suddenly Not Necessary for National Security (421107)


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