Every time we comment on the 2008 elections here at SF, keep in mind we are a non-partisan organization that does not endorse candidates. I will say that every time news comes up on civil liberties and civil rights issues in relation to the 2008 elections. Frankly, most of what you will see here on the elections will probably be criticism of the candidates. No one’s perfect.
An adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain says that Senator McCain supports warrantless surveillance in violation of the Fourth Amendment, errr, for protection of the country. The New York Times today and Glenn Greenwald earlier in the week have both reported on McCain’s flip-flop from his responses on the issue in December to a candidate survey conducted by The Boston Globe.
Although a spokesman for Mr. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, denied that the senator’s views on surveillance and executive power had shifted, legal specialists said the letter contrasted with statements Mr. McCain previously made about the limits of presidential power.
In an interview about his views on the limits of executive power with The Boston Globe six months ago, Mr. McCain strongly suggested that if he became the next commander in chief, he would consider himself obligated to obey a statute restricting what he did in national security matters.
Mr. McCain was asked whether he believed that the president had constitutional power to conduct surveillance on American soil for national security purposes without a warrant, regardless of federal statutes.
He replied: “There are some areas where the statutes don’t apply, such as in the surveillance of overseas communications. Where they do apply, however, I think that presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, no matter what the situation is.”
Following up, the interviewer asked whether Mr. McCain was saying a statute trumped a president’s powers as commander in chief when it came to a surveillance law. “I don’t think the president has the right to disobey any law,” Mr. McCain replied.
This isn’t completely news. In February, McCain voted with the administration on the FISA revision bill, as documented here at SF.
Of course, no one is going to confuse McCain with a constitutional scholar. This cat thinks the Constitution established the United States as a Christian nation. Senator, where in the Constitution are the words “God” and “Christian”? My copy doesn’t have the G word or the C word.
Andy in Harrisburg