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Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion

Bump and Update: Crooks and Liars has a video of Feingold, in which he mentions this post by blogger Glenn Greenwald. Christy has some after-hearing thoughts. Raw Story has transcripts from the hearing.

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Original Post:

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Senator Russ Feingold's motion to censure President Bush. Christy (Reddhedd) at Firedoglake is live-blogging via C-Span. Crooks and Liars will have some video. Glenn Greenwald is covering there as well.

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    Re: Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion (none / 0) (#1)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 09:38:54 AM EST
    Anyone have an exact quote for Fein's remark about the administration's argument not being "static" and being similar to a "living Constitution", an idea they don't support in other areas?

    Re: Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion (none / 0) (#2)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 09:49:57 AM EST
    From Feingold's Myths and Facts article:
    Myth: Congress needs to hold hearings on the NSA wiretapping program before a measure like censure is discussed. Fact: The Senate Judiciary Committee has held multiple hearings on the issue despite the refusal of the administration to cooperate. Further hearings and investigation are necessary but those hearings will not change the fact that the President broke the law.
    link When there is no possibility to check the Presidents illegal activity because the majority party blocks any attempt to get the facts, all that is left is to censure the President. This is not just an empty gesture but a gesture that speaks to the people and marks a point for sake of historical record that even though the Democrats have no power to force the issue they will not just sit back and say 'oh well business as usual' and go back to sleep. The American people deserve no less than Feingold's motion to censure. The rest of the Democrats and Republicans are aiding and abetting a crime and America is losing big time. Someone has to do something, albeit something that is only symbolic. Three cheers for Feingold and boo to all those who are asleep at the wheel.

    Re: Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:36:04 AM EST
    I guess Fiengold doesn't read the papers either. Otherwise he might have read where 5 FISA judges, including one co-authored FISA, says that the President is perfectly within his Constitutionally given authority, and would actually be remiss if he actually let FISA restrictions override his Constitutional responsibilities. Sounds exactly, and suspiciously ofcourse, like what the conservatives around here have been arguing since you libs brought this whole asinine issue up.

    Re: Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion (none / 0) (#4)
    by squeaky on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 11:26:41 AM EST
    Variable-I guess that you only read the moonie times which totally distorted the FISA courts statements.
    That the Washington Times reporter would float this rubbish out, and it would be run around the wingnut spin machine without anyone bothering to check the transcript -- having clearly not watched the hearing itself, and without such a disclaimer being put into the reporting, is inexcusable. All of the judges who testified were very careful in what they did or did not say regarding President Bush's current NSA program -- because none of them had been fully briefed as to its particulars -- but all were very clear in saying that the President is bound by any law passed by Congress which is constitutional -- and that the FISA court provides invaluable checks and balances to executive power. Period.
    Emphasis mine link

    Re: Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 11:46:59 AM EST
    Yeah, well, he invariably needs to deviate from the truth because it ain't helpin' him. It makes him out to be less than candid.

    Re: Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion (none / 0) (#6)
    by Sailor on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 02:57:26 PM EST
    Statement of Bruce Fein, Deputy Attorney General to Ronald Reagan
    Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: I am grateful for the opportunity to express my support for Senate Resolution 398. It would censure President George W. Bush for seeking to cripple the Constitution's checks and balances and political accountability by secretly authorizing the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens in the United States in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and misleading the public about the secret surveillance program.
    Judges on Secretive Panel Speak Out on Spy Program
    Five former judges on the nation's most secretive court, including one who resigned in apparent protest over President Bush's domestic eavesdropping, urged Congress on Tuesday to give the court a formal role in overseeing the surveillance program.
    In a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the secretive court, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, several former judges who served on the panel also voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president's constitutional authority to order wiretapping on Americans without a court order. They also suggested that the program could imperil criminal prosecutions that grew out of the wiretaps.
    Judge Harold A. Baker, a sitting federal judge in Illinois who served on the intelligence court until last year, said the president was bound by the law "like everyone else." If a law like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is duly enacted by Congress and considered constitutional, Judge Baker said, "the president ignores it at the president's peril."


    Re: Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion (none / 0) (#7)
    by Sailor on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 02:57:28 PM EST
    Statement of Bruce Fein, Deputy Attorney General to Ronald Reagan
    Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee: I am grateful for the opportunity to express my support for Senate Resolution 398. It would censure President George W. Bush for seeking to cripple the Constitution's checks and balances and political accountability by secretly authorizing the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens in the United States in contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and misleading the public about the secret surveillance program.
    Judges on Secretive Panel Speak Out on Spy Program
    Five former judges on the nation's most secretive court, including one who resigned in apparent protest over President Bush's domestic eavesdropping, urged Congress on Tuesday to give the court a formal role in overseeing the surveillance program.
    In a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the secretive court, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, several former judges who served on the panel also voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president's constitutional authority to order wiretapping on Americans without a court order. They also suggested that the program could imperil criminal prosecutions that grew out of the wiretaps.
    Judge Harold A. Baker, a sitting federal judge in Illinois who served on the intelligence court until last year, said the president was bound by the law "like everyone else." If a law like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is duly enacted by Congress and considered constitutional, Judge Baker said, "the president ignores it at the president's peril."


    Re: Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 06:17:46 PM EST
    One thing in particular Fein said when questioned about the so-called inflexibility and antiquated nature of FISA by Lindsey Graham was particularly striking and it left Graham stunned and dead in his tracks. Fein pointed out that FISA was written at a time(1978)when the Soviet Union had thousands of ICBMs aimed at us and the ability to annihilate us at a moments notice and the FISA provisions weren't considered too onerous. Terrorists can hurt us, but they don't have the ability to annihilate us. It's not even close, so the administration's argument looks more specious by the moment.

    Re: Senate Hearing on Feingold Censure Motion (none / 0) (#9)
    by wg on Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 11:09:50 AM EST
    It's a shame that this hearing was so poorly attended. Even if you disagree with Feingold's notion of censure, the hearing was useful in airing various options as to what Congress should do regarding Bush's warrantless domestic spying. Here are a few notes. The hearing started with Cornyn's swift kick to Dean's gonads. Texas classy. After which he graciously left the room. Having no other argument Specter stuck with his theory of "lack of bad faith". This was rather weak, when I'm caught driving 50 in the 35 mph zone, it's kind irrelevant whether I did it in bad faith or not. The administration was caught in clear violation of US statues (spying on Americans w/o warrants), bad faith or not, they are criminally liable. Also for the first time Specter clearly stated that his intention is to legalize an existing program. That's ex post facto legislating that happens to be explicitly prohibited by the Constitution. Being in the state of war was cited profusely by GOP-ers to justify Bush's actions. The fact, however, is that this country has been in the state of war permanently since early 40s, Nazi Germany first, cold war later, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq, now terror war with no end in sight. So why pass any laws to regulate anything? It was interesting to watch Graham's chaotic thinking aloud. After much struggle he finally arrived at an interesting conclusion - spy on foreigners as much as you want, no need for courts, but for Americans he wants to have a judge overseeing things. He doesn't seem to realize that this is precisely what present FISA is all about, what Bush totally ignored and what Feingold so justly wants to have him censured for. There is a notion that censuring weakens the presidency and that this is not good for the country. This is unquestionably true, especially now when our international standing is in the dumps thanks to Bush administration. An international pariah with censured president is not a very nice prospect. However this needs to balanced with the need to reign in a grossly overreaching executive, to restore a system of checks and balances. I'm leaning to the later as a better solution for the country in the long run. Go listen to it yourself (CSPAN), well worth your time, imho.