Political Animal Kevin Drum at left-leaning Washington Monthly has a quite different take. "Here's another point related to General Hayden's admission today that the NSA's domestic spying program isn't some kind of dazzling high tech black op, but merely garden variety wiretapping that was done outside normal FISA channels ...Administration apologists have argued that the White House couldn't seek congressional approval for this program because it utilized super advanced technology that we couldn't risk exposing to al-Qaeda. But now we know that's not true."
Meanwhile, liberal TalkLeft proudly discloses that a criminal defense lawyer—TalkLeft commenter and reader Terry Kindlon—has filed a motion to dismiss criminal charges against one of his clients in connection with the warrantless electronic monitoring program. Kindlon's contention is that the government's investigation of Yassin Aref, accused along with Mohammed Hossain of involvement in a plot to sell missile launchers to terrorists, originated from a spying program that may be illegal.
Read more about the eavesdropping program.
Tennis, anyone? While John Roberts was being sworn in as chief justice of the Supreme Court— and while every other member of the court was in attendance—Antonin Scalia was playing tennis at a swank Colorado resort hotel, ABC News breathlessly reports. The story suggested that Scalia's absence had the appearance both of a snub and of an ethical conflict, since Scalia was attending a legal seminar sponsored by the Federalist Society.
Orin Kerr at legal-eagle group blog Volokh Conspiracy is just shocked. "It remains unclear whether Justice Scalia will have to step down from the Supreme Court or face impeachment, as no Justice has ever missed a hearing as critical as a swearing-in ceremony before," he writes, tongue firmly in cheek. "Some scholars argue that having missed Roberts' swearing-in ceremony, Scalia lacks the qualifications to vote on cases heard by the Roberts Court."
Seriously, though, "I completely fail to see the controversy," writes Tom Goldstein on SCOTUSblog. "The Federalist Society does not litigate cases. It does not (so far as I know) even take positions on judicial nominees. Events like these are similar to those hosted by the American Constitution Society, which more liberal Justices attend. These events strike me as very valuable because they expose more people to the Justices, and vice versa."
Read more about the Scalia "controversy."