The Friday Fantastic Four #5.
1. Featured Law-Oriented Blog.
Today's featured Law-Oriented site is not really a blog. It's State and Local Government on the Net. This is a great resource site for finding information about State Court materials. Every state is listed, with links to that State's court sites. Additionally, there are search features and links to local government or topic specific sites. As a quick resource, this is one of the more comprehensive free sites I've come across.
2. Featured Law Commentary.
Today's featured law commentary comes courtesy of Michael J. Kelly, associate professor of law at Creighton School of Law. The commentary was previously posted at ACS Blog earlier in the week.
In the commentary, Kelly argued that SCOTUS precedent (from the Youngstown case) "still stands today for the proposition that the president cannot increase his power at home by fighting abroad." Kelly notes that "President Bush is trying to do just that." Kelly notes:
By using the external threat of more attacks from foreign terrorists, he believes that he has found an excuse to support his illegal, unwarranted domestic surveillance program. In Youngstown, the Court found that Congress' consideration of a strike-busting mechanism during the Taft-Hartley debates, and their subsequent rejection of this method, prohibited the president from seizing the mills -- as this was a taking of property, which only Congress could do. In the domestic surveillance case, Congress likewise considered a method for undertaking spying activity (amounting to search and seizure); but here they actually adopted legislation -- the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which embodied the method in a statutory framework. Obviously, the teaching and applicability of Youngstown was not lost on Senator Graham as it has been on Attorney General Gonzales.
Justice Jackson's concurring opinion in Youngstown said that a president's power is at its "maximum" when he is acting with Congress, but his power moves into a "twilight zone" when he is acting on his own in the face of Congressional silence, and his power is at its "lowest ebb" when he is acting on his own against the implied or express will of Congress. Graham correctly places the president's power to go around FISA and order unwarranted domestic wiretapping in that third category, where his power is at its lowest ebb - as noted in this exchange from the hearings:
GRAHAM: All I'm saying is that the inherent authority argument, in its application, to me, seems to have no boundaries when it comes to executive decisions in a time of war. It deals the Congress out, it deals the courts out.
GONZALES: Well, the fact that the president, again, may have inherent authority doesn't mean that Congress has no authority in a particular area. And when we look at the words of the Constitution, and there are clear grants of authority to the Congress in a time of war. And so if we're talking about competing constitutional interests, that's when you get into, sort of, the third part of the Jackson analysis.
GRAHAM: That's where we're at right now.
GONZALES: I don't believe that's where we're at right now.
GRAHAM: That's where you're at with me.
GONZALES: Sir, even under the third part of the Jackson analysis -- again, I haven't done the detailed work that, obviously, these kinds of questions requires. These are tough questions -- but I believe that the president does have the authority under the Constitution.
Kelly concludes that "Senator Graham was not the only one to raise the Youngstown case against Gonzales, who should have seen that coming a mile away, but the fact that a conservative Republican from South Carolina took the position is indicative of the precarious nature of the Attorney General's legal position."
3. Featured Non-Law-Oriented Blog.
This week's featured Non-Law-Oriented Blog is Poker Abby. Basically the site provides a sort of "Dear Abby" approach to Poker from somebody professing to be somewhat of a poker expert. There are, of course, posts and questions about non-poker topics, too. But some of the poker discussion, especially some of the odds-talk, etc., is pretty interesting and enlightening if you are an aspiring poker player. [insert standard disclaimer about the evils of gambling and playing with caution, etc.]
4. Featured Just-For-Fun Site.
Today's "Just For Fun" Site is "Arts and Kids", a site devoted to artwork by and for children. The site has lots of things to explore, especially if you have a young art-lover in your home. Check out the Galleries or the Coloring Book pages or enter the Art Contest. You can literally spend hours at this site if you have a kid who enjoys art. There are even resources for Teachers.
Previous Friday Fantastic Four Posts:
January 27, 2006
January 20, 2006
January 6, 2006
December 30, 2005