Limit FISA Surveillance?

Certainly, the process is beset with vast, and serious, problems.

Mr [DoJ Inspector General] Horowitz’s staff reviewed a sample from a recent five-year period, October 2014 to September 2019, during which the eight FBI field offices applied for more than 700 surveillance warrants on US persons. Each of the reviewed files contained errors, inconsistencies and omissions. After reviewing the report, the FISA court’s Chief Judge James E Boasberg issued a rare public order. He told the government to undertake steps to ensure the accuracy of FISA applications. Yet inaccuracy isn’t the only problem. The use of FISA against a US citizen presents a fundamental threat to civil liberties. It essentially suspends the Constitution.

An Expansionist Germany

Not military expansion, but a more insidious one: legal expansion.

The German government must come up with a new law regulating its secret services, after the country’s highest court [Federal Constitutional Court] ruled that the current practice of monitoring telecommunications of foreign citizens at will violates constitutionally-enshrined press freedoms and the privacy of communications.

And:

The key legal question was whether foreign nationals in other countries were covered by Germany’s constitution….

Why, yes, yes they are. Because German sovereignty reaches deep inside other nations’ borders, other nations’ legal and political jurisdictions, overrides those nations’ own sovereignty. Germany’s laws not only apply outside German borders, they apply inside other nations’ borders.

Finally, Some Recognition

…of the role of Federal laws in State activities. Recall that two New Jersey officials of then-Governor Chris Christie’s (R) administration were convicted in Federal court for

hav[ing] participated in a 2013 scheme to create traffic backups in Fort Lee, NJ, by limiting motorists’ access to the George Washington Bridge that crosses into New York—in retaliation against Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, for not supporting the re-election bid of Mr Christie, a Republican.

The Supreme Court, unanimously, tossed those convictions. The unanimity of the throwing out is made the more noteworthy by this money quote, by none other than Justice Elena Kagan, who wroteg for the Court:

A First Amendment Case

Oral argument on a 1st Amendment case was heard by the Supreme Court last Wednesday. The case centers on

whether or not a 1991 law that protects people from receiving unwarranted telemarketer calls is a violation of the First Amendment when applied to political organizations.

This strikes me as a no-brainer that never should have gotten out of any District court. The 1st Amendment bars the abridgment of political speech in the public square. It does not take away the right of private citizens to decide for themselves what speech they will hear from within their own, private property.

Judicial Abuse

The Wall Street Journal has laid out the present abuse. DC Circuit nominee Justin Walker is up for confirmation hearings this week.  Now recall how the so-called watchdog of judicial ethics, the Codes of Conduct Committee tried to get potential judges disqualified from their nominations for the apostasy of belonging to the Federalist Society. There was considerable blowback over the Committee’s draft rule that would have affected the bar: 210 appellate and district judges signed a letter to the Committee demurring from the rule.

Another Clue

…into the machinations of the “liberal” wing of the Supreme Court.

The Court is going to hear oral arguments on 10 cases that the Wuhan Virus situation had previously forced the Court to postpone. The arguments will be done by teleconference. The structure of the oral arguments will be…structured…during the teleconferances.

The court is also jettisoning its unstructured process for questioning the lawyers before them. Instead of jumping in at will, the justices will speak in order by seniority, beginning with Chief Justice John Roberts, moving on to Justice Clarence Thomas—a moment that may hold some suspense, as he can go years without speaking at oral argument—and so on to the newest justice, Brett Kavanaugh.

A Supreme Court Error

No, I’m not talking about the Court’s cowardice on gun rights. This one concerns the Court’s nearly unanimous decision regarding any Congress’ ability to undo what a prior Congress has done and the Executive Branch’s obligation to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated.

The Court upheld health coverage providers’ demand, under Maine Community Health Options v US for

payments to health insurers for so-called risk corridors in ObamaCare’s first three years[.]

Never mind that the 112th Congress, in 2010, undid what the prior 111th Congress had done and both refused to appropriate funds for those “risk corridors” and explicitly forbade the Executive Branch from making any risk corridor payments from other funds.

An Appellate Court Error

The 6th Circuit has this one.  Gary B v Whitmer concerns children in a really poorly performing Detroit public schools: miserable classroom conditions and abysmal test scores.

The appellate court decided, though, that this matter had nothing to do with the quality of the schools, over which the court has no jurisdiction, and everything to due process as delineated in our Constitution’s 14th Amendment, within which the court does have some jurisdiction.

What a Concept

A legal, permanent resident immigrant with a prior criminal record, has been ordered deported, and the Supreme Court has upheld the deportation order.  Because it’s the law.

Writing for the Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh had this [emphasis added]:

Removal of a lawful permanent resident from the United States is a wrenching process, especially in light of the consequences for family members. Removal is particularly difficult when it involves someone such as Barton who has spent most of his life in the United States. Congress made a choice, however, to authorize removal of noncitizens—even lawful permanent residents—who have committed certain serious crimes. And Congress also made a choice to categorically preclude cancellation of removal for noncitizens who have substantial criminal records. Congress may of course amend the law at any time. In the meantime, the Court is constrained to apply the law as enacted by Congress.

Where Were the FISA Court Judges?

DoJ’s Inspector General is finding yet more, yet more rampant, miscreancies in and done by what used to be our nation’s—the world’s, even—premier law enforcement agency.

DOJ’s new assessment indicated that FISA problems were systemic at the bureau and extended beyond the Page probe. In four of the 29 cases the DOJ inspector general reviewed, the FBI did not have any so-called “Woods files” at all, referring to documentation demonstrating that it had independently corroborated key facts in its surveillance warrant applications. In three of those applications, the FBI couldn’t confirm that Woods documentation ever existed.
The other 25 applications contained an average of 20 assertions not properly supported with Woods materials; one application contained 65 unsupported claims. The review encompassed the work of eight field offices over the past five years in several cases.