Patterico's Pontifications


Greenwald: Untrammeled Executive Power Bad, Untrammeled Judicial Power Good

Our pal Glenn Greenwald, who opposes untrammeled executive power, appears to be hunky-dory with untrammeled judicial power, as long as it is exercised to reach a result he likes.


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.”

Yesterday’s Court Decision Proves the NSA Disclosures Harmed National Security

After the New York Times told us about the NSA’s secret surveillance program, leftists confidently told us that the disclosure could not possibly have harmed our national security.

As we learned yesterday, that’s not what the people who have been talking to the terrorists say.


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