As Bruce Fein so succinctly puts it in the YouTube at left, the Constitution is not merely a document which we reference from time to time in a political speech. The Constitution and the rule of law are the very foundation on which American government rests.

Despite the Bush Administration’s attempts to the contrary, the rule of law, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are all very much living hallmarks of our democratic principles of governance.

True patriots stand up for the rule of law. Because in doing so, they are defending the foundations of this nation. It is well past time that every presidential candidate on either side of the political aisle did so. It is time to lead.

When the FISA/Protect America Act legislative debate resumes, the bill (S.2248) will already be pending on the floor. The cloture vote on the motion to proceed on 12/17/07 was a vote of 76-10. (See here for specifics on votes.) The pending matter, as I read the procedural ins and outs from the close of debate, will be the SJC substitute bill, but I have a call in to the Senate Parliamentarian to clarify on this, and I’ll certainly let you know what I hear if different.

For the record, "Not Voting" is just not good enough.

And neither is sitting this one out for any of us. So, let’s get to work. Congress is about to take yet another recess — but I’m hearing there may be a procedural maneuver in the works for tomorrow, whether a 30 day extension of the Protect America Act or something else. It is critical that we let members of Congress know that we are paying attention and that this issue matters to all of us.

The Constitution needs your voice today — so please, call your Senators and let them know that retroctive immunity and a breach of the 4th Amendment are not acceptable. Tell them to stand up for the rule of law — because THAT is their job and you expect leaders not rubber stamps. The time for leadership is now.

Senate phone numbers are here; and Sen. Harry Reid’s phone number is: (202) 224-3542. And Sen. Mitch McConnell’s phone number is: (202) 224-2541 — tell him national security and the rule of law should never be used as a political football, and that taking political marching orders from Rove is so 2002.

We should focus first on the 14 Senators who promised to help Sens. Dodd and Feingold. Here are their fax and phone numbers:



Feingold (202) 224-2725 (202) 224-5323
Dodd (202) 224-1083 (202) 224-2823
Obama (202) 228-4260 (202) 224-2854
Sanders (202) 228-0776 (202) 224-5141
Menendez (202) 228-2197 (202) 224-4744
Biden (202) 224-0139 (202) 224-5042
Brown (202) 228-6321 (202) 224-2315
Harkin (202) 224-9369 (202) 224-3254
Cardin (202) 224-1651 (202) 224-4524
Clinton (202) 228-0282 (202) 224-4451
Akaka (202) 224-2126 (202) 224-6361
Webb (202) 228-6363 (202) 224-4024
Kennedy (202) 224-2417 (202) 224-4543
Boxer (415) 956-6701 (202) 224-3553


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