Smackdown, Althouse style

Posted by: ST on August 24, 2006 at 10:20 am

Blogger and University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse lays the law down on US District Court Judge Anna Diggs recent ruling against NSA wiretapping. Professor Althouse writes:

TO end her opinion in American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency — the case that enjoins President Bush’s warrantless surveillance program — Judge Anna Diggs Taylor quoted Earl Warren (referring to him as “Justice Warren” not “Chief Justice Warren” as if she wanted to spotlight her carelessness): “It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of … those liberties … which makes the defense of the nation worthwhile.”

As long as we’re appreciating irony, let’s consider the irony of emphasizing the importance of holding one branch of the federal government, the executive, to the strict limits of the rule of law while sitting in another branch of the federal government, the judiciary, and blithely ignoring your own obligations.

So often, we’ve heard complaints about “activist” judges. They’re suspected of deciding what outcome they want, based on their own personal or ideological preferences, and then writing a legalistic, neutral-sounding opinion to cover up what they’ve done. That carefully composed legal opinion makes it somewhat hard for a judge’s critics to convince people — especially anyone who likes the outcome — that the judge did not decide the case according to an unbiased legal method of analysis.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip: ST reader Fat Tone


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6 Responses to “Smackdown, Althouse style”


  1. Lorica says:

    Why haven’t impeachment proceedings been started against Anna Diggs Taylor??? The very fact that she ruled in this case, when she had a clear bias, is grounds for a judge to be impeached. Why is it those on the left think they are immune to this sort of think when they clearly using their authority on their own behalf?? It is time for our elected officials to grow a spine, and start to take a serious look at these judges. Impeach a couple of them and the rest will sit up and take notice. – Lorica

  2. forest hunter says:

    I took a law class about a hundred years ago. It was the first and last class the man taught- his words paraphrased. The entire class of about thirty were all women wanting to be or in some cases already working as legal assistants. The man who taught the class was the head nut for WA State’s legal team.

    One of the few things I recall from the class were when he informed us that there three ways to “create” law in America. The quickest and easiest way by far was/is through court decisions. Once precedents have been established good or bad, the new law takes root and grows into varying types of the same law. Think of it as a tree.

    Imagine grafting a pear onto an apple or visa versa. The *fruit* that’s created the following year is comparable to having Helen in the front row of the WH press room, when if the grafted branch/law were done correctly you would have Bethany seen here subbing for Malkin at Hot Air.

  3. forest hunter says:

    Well that didn’t work! Lets try this.

  4. forest hunter says:

    A Helen versus a Bethany, as it were. Laws created in courts can be an ugly attempt to, as Ann put it, mask a “carefully composed legal opinion makes(ing) it somewhat hard for a judge’s critics to convince people.”

  5. Lorica says:

    That is true too Forest. Look at Roe vs. Wade. It was never the intention of that ruling to allow abortions after the 2nd trimester, but yet, it is done in this country everyday, and if a state makes a law against it, they throw the Roe vs. Wade ruling in your face. It is pathetic. – Lorica

  6. Marshall Art says:

    What do you expect from a Carter appointee, chosen for her sex, color and portside list.