Friday, September 25, 2009

Al Franken reads the Fourth Amendment to Assistant Attorney General

Holding federal officials accountable to Constitutional language is apparently a strange thing to do, as Al Franken seems to have indicated earlier this week by reading from his senatorial copy of the Constitution:

he proceeded to read it to Kris, emphasizing this part: “no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

“That’s pretty explicit language,” noted Franken, asking Kris how the “roving wiretap” provision of the Patriot Act can meet that requirement if it doesn’t require the government to name its target.

Kris looked flustered and mumbled that “this is surreal,” apparently referring to having to respond to Franken’s question. “I would defer to the other branch of government,” he said, referring to the courts, prompting Franken to interject: “I know what that is.”

It's kind of sad that a commitment to civil liberties is so rare in elected officials - this is one of the single greatest instances of representation I've seen in months. Right-wingers who've been pretending to care so much lately about the Constitution will hate him regardless, though he's doing a remarkable job so far of being open and respectful to his constituents.

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