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Judge Andrew Napolitano defends the Constitution against Bush on FOX!

Reported by Chrish - January 20, 2006

Judge Andrew Napolitano, regular Fox News Contributor, Legal Analyst, and sometimes substitute host, came out in full defense of the Constitution on The Big Story yesterday 1/19/06. After Victoria Toensing's twisted and lame defense of Bush's illegal spying it was a much-needed breath of fresh air. We can assume that FOX viewers are now hopelessly confused and will shut down on this issue, dismissing it as way over their heads, and let the paternal administration do whatever is needed to keep them safe.

Gibson introduced the segment much the same way he did Toensing's, asking if Bin Laden's tape warning of imminent attacks isn't justification for the Patriot Act and the "NSA wiretapping program"?

He mischaracterized - again- what it is critics are mad about in his first question to Napolitano (JAN for the ret of the post): Shouldn't this be a trump card to throw down when someone says 'you shouldn't be listening to calls made to Al Queda members overseas? Why haven't I convinced you, Judge, since Bin Laden's planning more attacks, we should be listening for his people?

JAN first said he agreed with everything VP Dick Cheney said (in a video clip prefacing the segment), that "these monsters" can't be negotiated with and must be destroyed, and he's glad we're fighting outside the United States. That said, he continues "But just as I did when I became a judge, he did when he became Vice-president, we took oaths to uphold the Constitution and uphold the laws whether we find them convenient or not. Now I disagree with Victoria Toensing on the FISA court. It's very easy to get a warrant from FISA. You can impose the wiretap today and wait to get the warrant for 72 hours. There's no demonstrable evidence that we need to cut holes in the Constitution in order to beat these guys. They're not here; they're over there.

Gibson interrupts to argue, citing the graphic found in my earlier post and the theoretical case of AQ operatives A, B, and C. In this case, claims Gibson, we can't listen to suspect C when he lands in NY.

"Not true." say JAN. As long as terrorist C is a foreigner, whether he's an agent of a foreign government or not, and I'm assuming for your hypothetical he is, you can listen to his cell phone on the plane, and you can listen to the phone he uses in NY, and you don't have to get the (warrant for the) wiretap for 72 hours. By your own hypothetical he's gone by then, and you've captured the whole conversation. The law is actually easier, fairer, and more faithful to the Constitution then a lot of people would have us belief.

JG (overtalking) But, but Judge, Victoria talks about what's involved in getting these requests and she says it is not as easy as you make it out. You've got to fill out a bunch of papers, a whole stack of them (holds up papers, much less than what a new car purchase requires; JAN smiles) , you've got to run over to some judge who has to look them over, it's going to take a while. No one's gonna accept a phone call from the NSA saying hey, terrorist A is talking to terrorist B, we wanna tap on terrorist C's phone...you gotta fill out all this paperwork when you don't even know if it's worthwhile. Why not just listen, and then go to the judge? (Comment: aaaaarrgh)

JAN John, that's what the law allows, listening and then going to the judge! What the president is not doing, what the NSA is not doing, is not going to the judge afterwards. The FISA law , as long as the person on the phone is a foreigner, alows the tap to be imposed first and the warrrant to be gotten later as long as it's within 72 hours. (Gibson overtalking, You just heard, you just heard....) JAN continues, John I heard applications...

Gibson prevails, saying You just heard Osama Bin Laden. He thinks he's running rings around us, especially over issues like this. If his guys can sit here and talk to each other without fear of George Bush listening in, they're ahead of the game.

JAN Osama Bin Laden is a notorious liar (his emphasis) and you and I don't believe 99% of what he says. I think you're right, he is using the left in this country to help him out (what?) but he's not using the Constitution, because the Constitution gives the government the tools it needs. When I heard applications for wiretaps at three o'clock in the morning, in my apartment, in my sweatpants with agents sitting right in front of me, I was able to read and understand what they gave me, and hand write the warrant right there. The federal judges do the same thing in Washington DC , and I bet they do it faster than I did.

Gibson is grinning (since the "left" comment) and thanks him; segment over.

Comment: Applause for Napolitano! It is comforting to know that even though there are unsurmountable ideological differences, we can still count on some on the right to meet in the middle and at least uphold the laws of the land rather than try to trample them. Gibson tried to use Victoria Toensing's earlier comments to make the argument against FISA procedures but was outsmarted by the judge.

Note the difference in tone and conduct of the two segments: when VT was giving the pro-WH slant, Gibson was quietly enabling. When JAN was condemning the Bush administration - a rarity as you know - Gibson gamely tried to argue and put forth the talking points heard earlier.

It is not our policy to give FOX employees blue ribbons, but I'll definitely give the judge a bone.

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