Specter Looking Forward? Review & Sue

About a month ago, before Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) suddenly fell under the administration’s spell last week — essentially agreeing to turn the Senate Judiciary’s cheek to Bush’s unconstitutional signing statements (all 800 of them) — he talked big about suing the boss-man.

Now he’s back on the attack — or as he insists, he’s had the ABA on this for a while — but what good is it to “sue” the president for the sole purposes of labeling his actions illegal when essentially it implicates Congress and even the Judiciary as Constitutional abusers and ignorameese.

WH Speaker Tony Snow pretty much summed up the president’s deep concern about the issue at yesterday’s briefing: “The President does not have the luxury of practicing civil disobedience.”

That’s right, Tony — nor does he have the “luxury” of being threatened with imprisonment. Besides, what Bush worry when higher powers have undoubtedly assured him of history’s future positive judgment of his presidency during his most recent Texas trout-fishing epiphany.

Elsewhere, Georgetown Law Professor David Cole examines the significance of the Supreme Court’s Hamdan decision.

Also, an Arab-American group sued Rumsfeld and Rice yesterday over the evacuation of Americans stuck in Lebanon.

The Not-So-Secret Bush Regime

I failed to mention this week the shocking revelation made by Mr “I can make my own decisions” Alberto Gonzales, our country’s attorney general under the second half of the Bush administration’s reign.

Six weeks ago it was unclear who to point the finger at for foiling the Justice Department’s investigation into the NSA’s secret eavesdropping program, which for years was known only to members of the Bush Administration and a select few members of Congress.

But that all changed this week, when Gonzales, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales admitted to let slip that the president himself shut down the investigation. (video here). The Department of Justice had ordered its over 30-year-old Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to investigate NSA eavesdropping program but as Gonzales explained, The White House denied the OPR access to the materials needed for their investigation — a move that OPR director H. Marshall Jarrett descibed as unprecedented.

Its amazing that Bush and his cronies can rule so ridiculously above the law. But, I guess its easilyi done for a president with a simple enough (selfish) mind to demonstrate this basic rule:

there is no law to lawlessness. another beautiful day to go and mow the law.

Bonus: CIA Blogger Fired for Discussing Geneva Conventions

Christine Axsmith, was canned from her position at the CIA’s software-development shop where, as Dana Priest reported in the Post online today, she conducted “performance and stress testing” on computer programs. After writing a blog entry titled “somthing like ‘Waterboarding is Torture and Torture is Wrong,’ Axsmith lost her top-secret security clearance, her job, and who knows what else.

Needless to say, if the CIA really thinks it can keep anything secret that it leaves unencrypted online, one only need to recall the massive security upgrade that they ordered up years ago (or was it the FBI) and have since scrapped plans as they are so hopelessly behind. Axsmith should sue. She was employed by BAE Systems — a little background Here.

Another lesson: just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. Not to mention, the flipside of that statement.

Judge Refuses to Toss Out Domestic Spying Suit Against AT&T

Despite pleas from John Negroponte and other Bush administration officials that discovery evidence presented in a trial would present “exceptionally grave damage” to national security, physician the case — brought in February by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and accusing AT&T of collaborating with the National Security Agency in illegal spying of millions of ordinary Americans — moves forward.

Associate Professor of Law (at GW) Orin Kerr breaks down the statement here. Greenwald chimes in as well.