Wednesday, November 29, 2006

California Judges Doing It Again

Not that this is completely unreasonable, but the logic has some serious flaws.
A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled that the Bush administration violated the Constitution when it froze the assets of more than two dozen alleged terrorist groups after the Sept. 11 attacks.

U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins, in a ruling released Monday, held that an executive order Bush issued Sept. 24, 2001 — designating 27 groups and individuals as "specially designated global terrorists" — was "unconstitutionally vague."

Collins said the order was flawed because it failed to explain the criteria used to make the designations and because it included no process to challenge the decision.
The logic missing here is that this is an interference with the executive war time powers. The President should be allowed to freeze assets with a lesser criteria in a quick time reaction. Mind you, the Bush administration should have pushed these groups into the Treasury department classification system as well to ensure they met a more rigorous overview, which could then be given additional time for validation.
Collins' latest ruling could affect another one of the administration's most widely used authorities in its war on terrorism, although the full import of the ruling was not immediately clear.

U.S. officials have used the power to freeze the assets of hundreds of organizations and individuals around the world to try to choke off financing for what it views as illicit operations.

But Collins also said that many of the designations, especially those made by the Treasury Department rather than by Bush, were valid because they followed detailed procedures.
Denying the Executive branch the ability to make quick decisions is a major mistake. I would doubt that this would stop a president in the future from making the decision and passing it on to the Treasury Department for review and validation.

But as all things in law, why would they be concerned with the overall results of such findings.

Captain Ed points out some info on Judge Collins.
Collins, a Clinton appointee, gained notoriety two years ago when she became the first federal judge to strike down provisions of the Patriot Act. Interestingly, she found that act, passed by Congress, also to be too vague to be constitutional. In that case, one of the plaintiffs was -- the PKK again, which got its terrorist designation not from the Bush administration under the Patriot Act or this executive order, but by Madeline Albright's State Department in 1997.

Nor was that the first time Collins has had a problem with anti-terrorist legislation. During the Clinton administration, she struck down the 1996 anti-terrorism law passed by Congress in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing. Collins seems to have trouble reading the law, finding all counterterrorism legislation too vague to be understood. Perhaps the problem lies with Collins more than the laws themselves.

Sounds like there is a need for some judicial review of the findings of this judge.

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