NSA Whitewash Passes Judiciary Committee on Party-Line Vote

PFAW President Calls on Full Senate to Block Passage of Specter-Cheney Proposal

People For the American Way President Ralph G. Neas issued the following response today to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage, on a party line vote, of S. 2453, which was written by Senator Arlen Specter in consultation with Vice President Dick Cheney:

    “This bill is a dire threat to the system of checks and balances that has been fundamental to our democracy for more than 200 years. It violates the basic principle that no one, not even the president, is above the law. If enacted, it would threaten Americans’ most basic constitutional rights and liberties.

    “A federal judge has already found President Bush’s domestic spying program to be illegal and unconstitutional. Now, Senator Specter, Vice President Cheney, and their allies want to replace our federal courts with a secret, one-sided court, where only Bush administration lawyers would be allowed to argue. The result would be a complete whitewash of illegal wrongdoing, and a blank check for the president to spy on American citizens whenever he sees fit without oversight. That is beyond unacceptable.

    “To be clear, while the GOP may think that raising this issue will help it score political points by playing to Americans’ fears, the Specter-Cheney legislation is nothing more than an election-year political ploy. The legislation simply does not do anything to make us safer. It just increases the potential for abuse of presidential power.

    “Congress has a responsibility to be more than a presidential lap dog that rolls over and plays dead whenever the president wants. Senators should use every means at their disposal to prevent this appalling legislation from passing.”

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