If George W. Bush really believes that the telecoms who broke the law by spying on Americans did so for patriotic motives, then why doesn’t he just give them a blanket pardon for doing so?
From a Bush Administration perspective, such a move has the extra advantage in that it can serve as another chapter in the Permanent Constitutional Crisis that is the hallmark of the Dear Leader’s reign. Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution allows the President to grant pardons in cases of “offenses against the United States.” It doesn’t restrict this power to natural persons. The Supreme Court’s precedent suggests that this power is pretty close to unreviewable, and I suspect that the current Supreme Court at least will uphold it.
And if you are one of those with Bush Derangement Syndrome, who thinks that he is advocating this only as a way to cover up his regime’s crimes, then all the more so.
If readers have views as to the legality of such a move, I’d be interested to hear it. I’d even be willing to put some money on it on Tradesports if they made it a category.
EMILY LITELLA UPDATE: Never mind! I soon realized, and readers pointed out, that this scenario doesn’t work for two reasons:
1) The suits against the telecoms are civil actions;
2) Telecoms would also be criminally liable under state statutes.
And neither are pardonable by the President. Well, Bush is just going to have to let Reid and Rockefeller do his bidding, which has worked pretty well for him so far.