Thursday, December 14, 2006

Leahy Tirade

Looks like the Judiciary committee will be worse than usual. Vermont's knee jerking Senator is expecting bipartisanship for his crusade against all things Bush. Personally, I hope the Repubs give him the same level of cooperation that he gave them, nearly none at all.
Incoming Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy said yesterday that he plans to rein in President Bush's program of wiretapping without warrants, rewrite the policy for handling terrorism detainees and more closely scrutinize nominees to the federal courts.

"As a Democratic majority prepares to take the lead on the Judiciary Committee, we do not have the luxury of starting with a completely clean slate," the Vermont Democrat told an audience at Georgetown University Law Center. "We begin knowing that we have a duty to repair real damage done to our system of government over the last few years."

Mr. Leahy accused Mr. Bush of "corrosive unilateralism," eroding the privacy rights of Americans, erasing constitutional checks and balances, and "packing" the federal judiciary.
How is it that all but one of the Dems that have been briefed on the NSA wiretapping have seen no issue with how things are being done? Feingold, being the only objector, is by far in the minority. Leahy, who hasn't been briefed, is screeching violations of privacy rights, though he has no evidence to back that claim. If the program was as far out of the mainstream as he appears to think, you'd think that those Dems that were briefed would have affirmed that stand. Especially since they've had years to do so and for easy political gain.

You have to love the "corrosive unilateralism" statement. If that were true the Intelligence committees, in both houses, that were briefed, would have stood up and taken the program down. As for packing the federal judiciary, that is so laughable that it's sad. He's been in office long enough to have assisted in packing in huge numbers of liberal judges and can only complain when the opposition party tries to seek some balance.
"I came to the Senate during the ebb tide of Vietnam and Watergate. In my 32 years since then in the Senate, I have never seen a Congress so willfully derelict in its duties," Mr. Leahy said. "This has been an unfortunate chapter in Congress' history, a time when our Constitution was under assault, when our legal and human rights were weakened, when our privacy and other freedoms were eroded."
I hope the public in general isn't so stupid as to believe this claptrap. Erosion in this case was legislated for the most part and it all has been given a time limit. Let's not forget also that it's the erosion that the likes of Leahy don't approve of, but if it were gun rights or some other pet peeve, that would be just fine with Leahy. None of these politicos seems ever to support enforcement of all rights, just those they think are appropriate.
"Protecting legitimate privacy rights while ensuring the safety and security of the American people from terrorists is not a zero-sum game," he said in response to Mr. Leahy's comments. "We have done and can do both. Indeed, we should be seeking ways to add more tools to fight terrorists, not begin dismantling the effective laws Congress has passed in recent years."
This guy is like a squeaky wheel. And again, since he doesn't know the extent of the protections put in place by the Administration, he really has no clear basis for his statement.
Mr. Leahy criticized Bush nominations to the federal bench. "For too long, this White House has used judicial nominations for partisan political purposes and refused to work with us on consensus nominees," he said.
Must be aggravating for him to have to go through what Clinton did while he was in office. Dems don't put in consensus nominees, so why would he expect Repubs to do that? Well, it sounds good to vilify the opposition. It makes politics the blood sport that it is.
Those remarks reopened a rift with conservatives, who see only partisan politics in Senate Democrats' filibusters of several nominations.

Mr. Levey said Mr. Leahy's calls for consultation overlook the Constitution, which gives the president the "sole power of appointing judges."

"Leahy apparently views himself as the president's partner in selecting nominees, rather than as part of the limited advice-and-consent process envisioned for the Senate by the Constitution," he said. "Moreover, when Senator Leahy speaks of wanting 'consensus' judicial nominees, what he appears to have in mind are nominees that are acceptable to the coalition of ultraliberal groups that have orchestrated much of the opposition to the president's judicial picks."
Well, Leahy's preparing the battlefield. Hope he appreciates what he has incited.

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