bballcourt.jpgUPDATE:  There are reports that immunity was stripped out altogether by this vote.  Which, if true, is a big victory.  That would mean that if the committee sent this out without immunity, the only way it would be in the final bill is if it were added back in via an amendment from the floor.  If true, that is huge. 

Potential sources of amendment might come from either Rockefeller/Intel committee and/or Specter, who has to be smarting that his “compromise” (read: WH CYA) went nowhere today.  Either way, I sure wouldn’t want to be out hunting with Dick Cheney this weekend…talk about yer pissed off Darth.  Hoo boy!

UPDATE #2:  cboldt says hold yer horses.  As I said, I’m waiting for some confirmation on all of this from several sources — soon as I get something definite, you all will know, too.

UPDATE #3Wired says no immunity in the bill.  (H/T to CTuttle.)  Still waiting on several call-backs…but I do like the sound of “no immunity,” don’t you?


Looks like the FISA ball is moving closer to the Shrub court.  Will he accept a bill without his petulantly demanded basket warrants — requiring him to get particularized, individual warrants as the 4th Amendment requires for American citizens?  Or will he veto it, admitting that he’s been doing wholesale data mining of Americans?  Will the final bill have telecom immunity — or not? 

Here’s what I know thus far this evening:

— The Feingold amendment stripping immunity out of the FISA bill was defeated in an 11-8 vote (UPDATE:  or possibly a 12-7 vote — conflicting reports on this.).  Democrats voting against it were:  Feinstein, Whitehouse and Kohl.  (No idea as yet on which Republican voted for it, but I’m working on it.)

— The bill was reported out of the SJC for Title I only — nothing on Title II/Immunity was reported out.  The final motion to report the bill out of committee without the immunity provisions passed with ten votes.

— The Specter “compromise” (read:  WH CYA) was never voted on today.

What all of this means is that the fight on immunity gets saved for the floor of the Senate, at least that is how I’m reading all of this.  Which means that it is time for the Presidential candidates to put their leadership on the table.  And I don’t mean just Sen. Chris Dodd with everyone else trying to coast along on his coattails.  I mean really standing up for the constitution and the rule of law out front and out loud — because real patriots stand up when their nation needs them.

While we’re at it, Sen. Dodd has asked for a hold on this bill.  Please take a little time to call Sen. Harry Reid and tell him to respect the hold.  You can reach Sen. Reid’s office at (202) 224-3542.

Direct dial contact information for every Senator’s DC office can be found here, along with links to the web page of every Senator, mailing addresses and fax numbers.  

(Photo via clickykbd.)

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com