Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, August 18, 2006

Even WaPo Slams Judge Taylor

It's not hard for even harsh critics of Bush's surveillance policies to slam U.S. District Judge Anna Digg Taylor's ruling yesterday throwing out warrantless surveillance of the NSA sort. Witness this editorial in WaPo this morning:

THE NATION would benefit from a serious, scholarly and hard-hitting judicial examination of the National Security Agency's program of warrantless surveillance. The program exists on ever-more uncertain legal ground; it is at least in considerable tension with federal law and the Bill of Rights. Careful judicial scrutiny could serve both to hold the administration accountable and to provide firmer legal footing for such surveillance as may be necessary for national security.

Unfortunately, the decision yesterday by a federal district court in Detroit, striking down the NSA's program, is neither careful nor scholarly, and it is hard-hitting only in the sense that a bludgeon is hard-hitting. The angry rhetoric of U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor will no doubt grab headlines. But as a piece of judicial work -- that is, as a guide to what the law requires and how it either restrains or permits the NSA's program -- her opinion will not be helpful.
What is needed is careful analysis and enlightened judicial guideance into the newly emerging and tricky balance between traditional Constitutional protections, advanced new technologies, and a rising threat of foreign and domestic terrorism. Taylor dismissed all that in a couple pages, failing to even cite precedence. She did no one but her interal demons and Leftist loonies any favors.

How did Taylor get her seat? Here's a bit of bio:
In 1976 she married S. Martin Taylor. Taylor became active in politics, helping Coleman Young in his 1973 campaign and Jimmy Carter in his 1976 victory. After Young's election, Taylor was named special counsel to the City of Detroit and then in 1975 accepted the full time position as assistant corporation counsel for the city. She successfully defended new city policies that established affirmative action hiring practices and outlawed discrimination in two private yacht clubs located on city-owned Belle Isle. Taylor became the first African-American women named to a Michigan federal court on November 15, 1979, when she was sworn in as a federal judge to the U.S. District Court for the Eastren District of Michigan. In 1997 she became the first African-American woman to be named chief judge of Eastern District of the United States District Court.
Hubby helps Jimmy; Jimmy appoints wifee after his goose is cooked. Under Clinton, she becomes chief judge. She has no fondess for white establishment guys dispite a Barnard and Yale education:
After graduation she could not find a job in a private law firm due to the prejudices against African Americans and women. She found work as a solicitor for the Department of Labor, working under J. Ernest Wilkins, the first African American to hold a sub-cabinet post in the United States government. ...

In 1964 she spent the summer in Mississippi as part of the National Lawyers Guild civil rights program to provide legal services for civil rights activists, arriving on the day that three civil rights workers disappeared in Philadelphia, Mississippi. When Taylor and other attorneys went to the sheriff's office to ask about the disappearance they were surrounded by a crowd of angry whites, who hurled racial epithets at Taylor and her companions.
Look, thanks for your service in bringing civil rights to the South, Anna Babe. But no thanks for your self-serving, unreasonable, high-horsed decision at a time when simple clarification would have sufficed.

At least Taylor's showboating ensures good grist for the case on appeal, where hopefully we will find judges who serve the greater good, not the angst and anger within.

hat-tip: Memorandum
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