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The controversies over the data collection programs of the National Security Agency, NSA, have raised important questions about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, FISC, which was created by the terms of that legislation which was enacted in 1978. Since the court generally operates in secret it is difficult to get information to answer questions about its role in the oversight on national security programs. I have gotten interested in digging around for the bits and pieces of information that are available. For those seeking quick drama, be warned, this is a wonkish diary.

Yesterday I posted this diary:

FISA Court Reform: A Congressional Proposal

The comments to the diary raised a number of excellent probing questions that require further research. This is a work in progress.

Here is a starting point.

United States federal courts

The constitution gives power to congress to establish federal courts below the Supreme Court. Most of the cases that come before federal courts are handled by a geographically based structure. The general trial courts of original jurisdiction are the federal district courts that have a jurisdiction of a specific geographic area. Judgments of the district courts can be appealed to the Court of Appeals which is divided into geographic circuits. The ultimate level of appeal is to the Supreme Court of the United States, SCOTUS. That court has the power to choose which appeals it will accept.

Sitting beside this general geographic structure are several specialized courts that deal with specific types of cases. They include both courts of original jurisdiction appellate courts that review their actions. They include:

United States Alien Terrorist Removal Court
United States bankruptcy courts (for each district court)
United States Court of Federal Claims
United States Court of International Trade
United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
United States Tax Court

Courts like bankruptcy and tax handle a large volume of cases and most of their work is routine and not particularly controversial. The FSIC is a rather different creature in a number of ways. In almost all cases the judges sitting on federal courts, including most specialty courts are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate. FISC is designated by law as a separate court. However, the judges that sit on the court are all federal district judges who were appointed to that office by the president. In order to serve on the FISC they are DESIGNATED by the chief justice of the US who is the administrator of the federal judiciary. Once designated they serve for a fixed term of seven years. This arrangement was established in the original 1978 legislation.

Here is the relevant section of the US Code.

(1) The Chief Justice of the United States shall publicly
    designate 11 district court judges from at least seven of the
    United States judicial circuits of whom no fewer than 3 shall
    reside within 20 miles of the District of Columbia who shall
    constitute a court which shall have jurisdiction to hear
    applications for and grant orders approving electronic surveillance
    anywhere within the United States under the procedures set forth in
    this chapter, except that no judge designated under this subsection
    (except when sitting en banc under paragraph (2)) shall hear the
    same application for electronic surveillance under this chapter
    which has been denied previously by another judge designated under
    this subsection. If any judge so designated denies an application
    for an order authorizing electronic surveillance under this
    chapter, such judge shall provide immediately for the record a
    written statement of each reason of his decision and, on motion of
    the United States, the record shall be transmitted, under seal, to
    the court of review established in subsection (b) of this section.
What might otherwise be a rather arcane matter has taken on some significance because of the way that the current chief justice John Roberts has used his power under these provisions. All of the 11 judges currently on the court have been designated by him. 10 of the eleven are appointees of Republican presidents. Several of them have track records of involvement in politically controversial cases in their function as general district court judges. This configuration strikes many people as unbalanced and there is already one bill introduced in congress to reduce the role of the chief justice.

I am making a point of emphasizing the word designate that appears in the statute. Articles in the media and diaries on Daily Kos have been referring to this function as appointment. This seems to be a very widespread usage reflects what the general public understanding.  I have followed the same practice until now. I would leave it to attorneys to discuss the finer points of the difference in meaning between designate and appoint.  However I think that we are likely to see much discussion about the court and the law with proposals for its reform. This seems like a good time to get the terminology accurate.

One question that arises is why the authority for the membership of FISC and of the review court was given to the chief justice. Some historical research would be required to determine legislative intent. The law was enacted by a Democratic Congress and signed by a Democratic president, but Warren Berger was CJ at the time. One plausible thought would be that since it is the function of the court to conduct oversight of the activities of the executive branch there was a desire to have a check on the authority of the president as the head of that branch.

Another significant thing about FISC that makes it different from all of the othe federal courts is the total secrecy of it proceedings and rulings. It was originally setup to perform the function of reviewing request by DOJ for warrants to conduct surveillance. That kept its activities limited in scope. That began to change after 9/11. The Patriot Act expanded its membership and began a process of mission creep. The Bush administration took authority upon itself to initiate activities that were neither authorized nor legal under existing law. The FISA amendments of 2008 were presented as intended to provide the authority to regularize those practices. It now appears that the court and DOJ have stretched the authority provided under that act more broadly than congress intended. The truth of this cannot be determined without access to the proceedings.

Judge Regie Walton, the present presiding judge of FISC has responded to various request for the release of court decisions of a programmatic nature by saying that the redactions that would be necessary to protect classified information would create confusion for the public. The Justice Dept. of the Obama administration has also put forth its best effort at stonewalling.

This is a special court created for a special purpose. One would expect it to be different to a certain extent. The question to be asked is have those differences gone beyond a point that is reasonable and safe for a democratic government that must ultimately be accountable to its citizens.  

UPDATE 3:10: Here's an interesting link provided by Villanova Rhodes.U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Public Filings

I was not aware that there were any public records of any of the courts activities. While it does seem that most of their work is conducted in secret, this another piece to add to the picture.

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 01:24 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fantastic post. (8+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing such valuable research. I'm looking forward to reading when I get off work.

    Your diaries on this subject have been quite substantive. Thanks again.

      •  Thank YOU, great post and great (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon, Shockwave

        questions.  We need to keep this focus for, probably, a long time.  If it gets trampled beneath other NSA/Spying news or the latest shiny thing, not much will be done to repair the damage.

        Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

        by StrayCat on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 11:13:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But I would rename your diary from "STRANGE BEAST" (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rlochow, Shockwave


        The reality is you cannot have a secret tribunals abiding by secret laws with secret outcomes and no due process with an adversarial point of view.  You just can't.

        I AL GORE's response to this:

        In a digital era, privacy must be a priority.  Is it just me, or is blanket secret surveillance a obscenely outrageous?

        If this is so right, then make it right, by putting it in the daylight.  We need due process.

        Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

        by Einsteinia on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 11:45:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The problem is getting enough information (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fou, Shockwave

          to determine that it is. I think that the original legislation would probably have passed constitutional muster. The legislation and the practices have evolved with the growing US security state. We certainly have strong reason to suspect that it has passed the bounds of constitutional respectability. However, the courts and the government have conspired to prevent a public examination of the question.

          •  Precisely why it is UnConstitutional (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rlochow, Shockwave

            When we no longer have access to information within our own government BY THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE, we have a systemic problem.

            The ACLU and EFF have been trying for years to bring these issues to court, but they were foiled because they could not have access to what they did not have access to.

            Thankfully Edward Snowden has now given details on these programs that will bring these issues to court.

            But logically, you cannot have secret laws and try and unilaterally convict citizens unbeknownst to them.

            How do we know that mere dissent on a blog like this isn't perceived threatening to the United States?

            Absolutely preposterous!

            Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

            by Einsteinia on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 12:15:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  It's not a secret tribunal. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          fou, Shockwave

          The secrecy of most of its work product is a serious deficiency, as is the lack of meaningful appellate review and the Catch-22 standing problem.

          Are you under the impression that wiretap applications in non-FISA courts are adversarial proceedings? That they're handled at public hearings with the lawyer for the target appearing? Anyone who watched The Wire would know better.

          •  The state secret privilege (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fou, Shockwave

            and other devices to which the government can resort are available in other courts, so it is not entirely unique to FSIC, but it does specialize in such matters an I think that its proceedings are very likely less visible than any other federal court.

            •  See, that's where the sloppiness of the (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rlochow, fou, Shockwave

              discussion here and elsewhere in the last several weeks becomes problematic. I have no problem saying that providers like Verizon or Google should be able to litigate both their own interests and the general interests of their entire customer base in public. Ditto for ACLU, EFF, and others. I want there to be public knowledge about what's fair game with respect to what can be collected, when, and under what circumstances it can be accessed. Ideally, that discussion would take place in Congress, not the court. Given Congress's abdication, it should be publicly litigated. If that makes the NSA or others uncomfortable, tough.

              But the frantic handwaving about having FISC do all of its work in public makes no sense. Governments, state and federal, get wiretaps all the time. And they're overwhelmingly on U.S. citizens and residents. Why would you give foreign intelligence gathering more privacy protection than domestic? Those are not adversarial proceedings, and no matter what you do to fix the FISC, they're not going to be. That would be nuts.

              The FISC is a relatively minor, fixable problem. The big dog is the FISA itself. Congress can (1) profess shock that the FISC has interpreted the statute as broadly as it seems to have, and (2) get on with amending the statute to reflect the scope they think it should have. What are the odds they get to #2?

              •  There does have to be provision (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Shockwave, KenBee

                for the conduct of legitimate law enforcement investigations. That was the original purpose of FISC. It seems likely that it was working in a fairly balanced manner prior to 9/11. That was when the Bush administration decided that could act in an extra-legal manner.  

                •  Well, it's just us talking here, but (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  fou, Shockwave, KenBee

                  sure, the Bush admin decided to act in an extra-legal manner by bypassing the FISC entirely. Their worst shenanigans weren't brought under the FISC umbrella until after the dramatic Ashcroft/Comey hospital scene and threatened resignations of highranking officials including the FBI Director.

                  The remedy to that scandal was to bring judicial review to the process. Again, I agree that there should be more sunlight on that process, and that there are standing and review issues. But remember that this subthread started with the allegation that the court itself is unconstitutional -- i.e., that the Congress had no power to create it. I don't see how anyone who has read article III can get to that conclusion, but I'm open to a legal argument. (I know you're not a lawyer but I'm inviting others.)

              •  What are the odds they get to no. 1? n/t (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Villanova Rhodes
  •  It used to be called the Star Chamber (17+ / 0-)

    And the writers of the Constitution were expressly against such a body...

    The historical abuses of the Star Chamber are considered a primary motivating force behind the protections against compelled self-incrimination embodied in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The meaning of "compelled testimony" under the Fifth Amendment – i.e., the conditions under which a defendant is allowed to "plead the Fifth" to avoid self-incrimination – is thus often interpreted via reference to the inquisitorial methods of the Star Chamber.
    Of course, in the current case the target will not even be aware that he or she is a target. The unwarranted seizure of their communications may or may not be incriminating. No matter. Warrant will be provided ex post facto!

    Most truths are so naked that people feel sorry for them and cover them up, at least a little bit. --Edward R. Murrow

    by chuckvw on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:01:59 PM PDT

    •  Unfortunately: 5th Amendment Weakened... (11+ / 0-)

      "You Don't Have the Right to Remain Silent (emphasis mine)

      "The Supreme Court’s terrible—and dangerous—ruling this week on the Fifth Amendment...

      On Monday, in a case called Salinas v. Texas that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, the Supreme Court held that you remain silent at your peril. The court said that this is true even before you’re arrested, when the police are just informally asking questions. The court’s move to cut off the right to remain silent is wrong and also dangerous—because it encourages the kind of high-pressure questioning that can elicit false confessions.

      The The Right to Counsel, Weakened
      ...In a troubling 5-to-4 ruling, the Supreme Court has significantly weakened the Sixth Amendment’s right to legal counsel...
      While we weren't looking, many of our Constitutional protections have been eroding in the name of "safety and security".  

      All of which is one reason I'm so troubled by the secretive FISA court, and it's essential blanket approvals of warrentless wiretapping.

  •  Blame William Howard Taft! (12+ / 0-)

    Seriously, do. The role of the Chief Justice as a "unitary executive" of the third branch traces back to him, for understandable reasons.

    The issue of the CJ's "appointment powers" (which I use here in the broadest sense, not just the "you sit on this court" sense) has been a matter of some dispute for a long time. There are respectable arguments for 1) it's unconstitutional, and should be vested in the Court as a whole, not the CJ; 2) it's not unconstitutional, but is unwise; and 3) it's fine. I haven't reached a conclusion, but I'm leaning towards #2.

    With specific regard to the FISC, it is not accurate to suggest this issue arose with CJ Roberts or inheres in the party of the president who appointed the judge to the district court. CJ Rehnquist also tended to choose Republican-appointed judges for the court for much of his tenure. But when he started picking Democrats the results were much the same. The notion that there's a huge pool of liberal district judges who would reach different results under the same FISA statute is not borne out by the evidence. For example, one empirical study compared the backgrounds and fourth amendment jurisprudence of the Rehnquist FISC judges and a randomly selected sample from their district judge cohort and found:

    The initial comparison suggests that Chief Justice Rehnquist’s FISA Court selections do not differ significantly, on the relevant ideology measures, from the random group. In other words, the Rehnquist FISA Court judges may be conservative both in general, and on Fourth Amendment issues in particular, but this conservatism appears to reflect the baseline of the federal judiciary rather than an unrepresentative cohort chosen by the Chief Justice.
    Theodore Ruger paper NWU article (PDF)

    (Elsewhere, the author points out that both Burger and Rehnquist did stack with Republican ideologues the Special Division of the D.C. Circuit that chose independent counsels.)

    Focusing on CJ Roberts, or even the current method of selection (though I don't favor it), seems to miss the mark. The attacks on the individual judges are ill-informed and run to "he ruled against a Democrat once." Believe me, there have been some fine judges on that court who are nobody's fool or partisan hack. (They did, at least in earlier days, skew towards a past of military service, but that was to some extent generational and possibly related to clearance issues as well.) It's just a fact that a district judge is more likely to have been a prosecutor than a public defender. That's been true in both Republican and Democratic administrations. The branch is, at its core, small-c conservative.  

    The problem is the structure of the system, the lack of meaningful appellate review, and how Congress has passed the buck to the FISC rather than, for example, spell out what it means by "relevant to an investigation" (or whatever the phrase is -- going from memory). Courts "make law" in the gaps -- Congress is responsible for making and closing those gaps. Here, we have the double whammy of 1) a Congress that doesn't want to take responsibility for the appropriate scope of the law, and 2) a classification system that makes it difficult -- and provides no incentive -- for Congress to take that responsibility.

    Although the court is not as secret as others here think, or even as you make it out to be, the crucial fact is that its work product is largely concealed from public view. (Here's a link to some of its public work, doubtless made more accessible because of recent attention, and that's a good thing.) In this, it violates one of the fundamental norms of judging -- reasoned, public decisions. While that's inevitable in some cases and at some stages, it is a problem that could probably be remedied in large part.

    But I'll stop spitballin' for now as real work beckons. I could nitpick some of what you wrote, but it's a nice conversation starter.

    •  There's lots to chew on there. (10+ / 0-)

      I'm learning as I go about this and clearly acknowledge that ultimately I am an amateur in the law.

      It has of course been a very long time since we had a Democrat for a chief justice. I am rising the issues about Roberts primarily because regardless of how accurate the charges are they will play a role in the political debate. That seems to me to be a good reason to try to get as clear an understanding of his function in relation to the court as possible.

      I am not inclined to see the developments with FISA/NSA as partisan in nature. The growth of the national security state has progressed over a long period under administrations and congresses controlled by both parties.

      Thank you for the link to the public decisions. I honestly had the impression from what I had read that there weren't any. I will read through them to pick up more flavor of what goes on.

      The central issue is all this is the activities of the NSA and likely other government agencies. The FISC is just one part of what is supposed to be a system of checks and balances. I strongly agree with you about congress dumping its responsibilities in the laps of the courts. I've seen this happen many time. They have to run for election and the judges have lifetime appointments.  

      •  psstt (6+ / 0-)

        now that you've been rescued, you might want to fix your title -- FISC.

      •  Note the date of the Public filings. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        caul, shaharazade, VincaMajor

        I'm not sure when Snowden's name first came to light as the leaker, but I'm fairly certain that the leaks began prior to the so-called public filings enter in the FISC.

        Looking at the rolling expose  that GG, Snowden and the Guardian have produced and the reactions, I hardly think that the people who called Snowden a traitor now have any firm ground to stand on.

        If indeed he was considered a traitor and nothing else then it's my belief that the silence from the Govt other than "get Snowden" would have been the only response.

        It appears that many of the Kossacks and other liberals  have deliberately and knowingly ignored the far reaching potential damage to the USA that the would come from the open and spreading wound in the constitution. All of  which is   far beyond the  ability of a simple band-aid to repair.

        The wound  was/is caused by the NSA it's contractors and the Administrations acquiescence,  all because of the phenomenon of  "It's our guy"  in office and the possibility it would  reflect negatively on the administration which could also extend to the 2014 mid-term and the 2016 election.

        If all this exposure came to light during a GOP presidency  , it would have caused a far more negative and cohesive response.  

        The only thing that can be said positive about this administration is that they are not completely ignoring the intense public scrutiny they are under. I doubt it's for the good of the country but more so for the good of the Democratic elites that there has been any response at all.

        These filings are a picture perfect example of the responses because , there were no public filings , as far as I could see, prior to Mid June. 2013. That coincides roughly with the measured expose by the Guardian.

        Snowden did the right thing even though Liberals are viewing what he did through the narrow prism    of breaking the law of information leaks from people with a security clearance. There is no big picture in this response, only that he's guilty of what can only be described as a minor infraction in the context of the sucking wound caused by the Govt.

        This also suggests that the same people  are comfortable with the bifurcation of the rule of law where those without Power and/or Money get the full weight of the Govt thrown at them while other more dangerous crimes committed during the administration are  publicly and unapologetically ignored.


        “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

        by Dburn on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 05:05:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Those dates are only from this year. (4+ / 0-)

          That is what it says at the top of the page. While I haven't verified it, it seems reasonable to assume that there would have been public filings in prior years. For information sake I read through a couple of the items on that list and they related to cases that had been ongoing for several years. Most seems to be about people seeking access to information which they aren't getting.

        •  So important- to compare the risks to The People (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade, koNko, Dburn

          from having some restrictions on the Government's ability to find out information, versus the risks from ignoring the Constitution.

          It's as if there were an unwritten clause of the Constitution that says "the Federal Government shall respect no other clause of this Constitution if it decides that it needs more authority, under claim of National Security. The phrase National Security is to be interpreted by the Executive Branch as it sees fit". That's how I see the many court decisions that have granted powers to the Executive that completely overreach the boundaries set by the Bill of Rights.

          •  There has long been a predisposition (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, StrayCat

            in the courts, particularly in time of war, to give the benefit of the doubt to the executive in matters of national security and foreign policy. In a situation like WW II one can see some reasonableness to that position. However, there seems to have been a drift toward making it the default position.

        •  You are incorrect in your conclusion (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that there were no public filings before June 2013. That appears to be when the website began to be used to post the public filings. Publication of the FISC's work is the exception and not the rule, but it is not new. Just ask the ACLU. Or look at 526 F. Supp. 2d 484. The court, or Judge Walton, decided to make the public decisions more accessible -- i.e., to those who don't have Westlaw, Lexis, or easy access to a law library -- but that doesn't mean they were sealed before. I've no reason to doubt that the decision to increase accessibility arose from the recent attention to the court, but the rest of your claim about this is simply wrong.

          •  ACLU and EFF (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Villanova Rhodes, Richard Lyon

            On the case for years.

            400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

            by koNko on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:47:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Did you happen to look at the dates of (0+ / 0-)

            each of the filings?  All of them coincide with the times around the  leaks. But you say that all the filings were available before . I'm looking at proof that no filings prior to the date of the filings shown via the links were made public or as you said "more accessible"

            Does that mean if I log on to PACER right now, I am going to find ALL of these filings in one convenient place all filings  listed under Citation 526 F. Supp. 2d 484?  Because when I do a Google search I see two filings displayed by the ACLU and the EFF when they originally made them and the rest are again, around the time of the leaks.

            Lets also not divert from the main point in my comment which suggests that the Govt is responding because of Snowden. Here is a true declarative: He is not a traitor
            but a true whistleblower forced to run from his country of birth because all whistleblowers before him have been run right into the ground by the govt. that has gone way over the edge of what this country use to stand for.

            Focusing on a declarative that I didn't make and only making partial reference to the main point of the post is the same crap in another package of focusing on the messenger instead of the message.

            YOU ARE WRONG in what you tried to do. You know it too.


            “ Success has a great tendency to conceal and throw a veil over the evil of men. ” — Demosthenes

            by Dburn on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 01:17:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not remotely interested in discussing Snowden. (0+ / 0-)

              I don't think you've seen me in those discussions in the past, and you're not likely to in the future. For me, this is not about Snowden. I understand others feel differently, both pro and anti. They can discuss the rest of your comment.

              I'm interested in judicial structures and processes. But given your misstatements about my comment, I'm not interested in discussing those issues with you either. I'll stand on my comment and let others decide for themselves.

  •  Welcome to Nerd Land. Love it! n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, Kevskos, Youffraita, koNko
  •  Designation vs appointment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, koNko

    I consulted a friend who is an attorney as to whether there is any difference in the legal meaning of these two words in this context. He informed that unless a word is being used as a term of art it should be read with the same meaning that it carries in general common language. In order to be a term of art there must be a statement of definition in the statute. Designate is not addressed in the definitions section of this statute.

    In looking at general purpose definitions there seems to be no clear and significant differences between the two words in the context of placing a person in a position of responsibility. ERGO: I conclude that the usage of describing the chief justice as appointing the members of the court is an accurate usage. The best way to look at it is that they are being given another appointment in addition to their existing appointment on the district court.  

    •  "Designate and assign" is the language used (0+ / 0-)

      throughout 28 USC ch. 13 to describe what the Chief Justice, and chief judges, do to move judicial resources from one court to another for a temporary stay. (It's a big code -- many lawyers have never looked at these sections because they've had no need to.)

      Designate: "You, Judge X on Court Y"
      Assign: "go to Court Z for 6 months"

      Sometimes the assignment wording is implied, as when the designations are being made for only one body such as the FISC. For example, here's the analogous language for the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation:

      (d) The judicial panel on multidistrict litigation shall consist of seven circuit and district judges designated from time to time by the Chief Justice of the United States, no two of whom shall be from the same circuit. The concurrence of four members shall be necessary to any action by the panel.
      Complicating the picture by using "appointment" -- a word used differently in the context of judicial nominations -- seems unwise. (And I've done so myself at times here.) You're trying to get a handle on a new area, so you might as well start with the clearest language.
      •  It is certainly pretty clear that almost (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        everybody discussing the FISC has used the word appoint. I can see how this might become an issue of importance with various proposals for reform that are likely to be introduced. My best reading is that at the moment it seems like a not highly critical technical point.  I have the sort of weird mind that finds such things interesting.

  •  It's a violation of at least the spirit of.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, StrayCat

    ... the Constitution, where the Senate has advise and consent jurisdiction over Federal Juage appointments.

    Why on earth would Congress have handed over that power to the Chief Justice?

    It needs to be undone, so that at least the Senate has a chance to vet PUBLICLY the proposed Judges.

    •  That is why I am interested in the rather (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      semiot, shaharazade, koNko, StrayCat

      technical question of whether the CJ has been given appointment powers. I think that the constitutional issue that you raise could be addressed by saying that the FISC judges have already passed through the constitutional appointment and confirmation process to become district judges. The judges on other specialty courts such as the tax court are not district judges. They have to be appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate.

      There are proposals being made to revise the way that judges get appointed to this court.

  •  Good work, Richard (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat, Richard Lyon

    I'm really impressed with your deep dive on this the past couple of days and hope it marks a turning point away from the circus and toward some productive debate.

    Now I have to read more before I comment further.

    400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

    by koNko on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 10:45:27 AM PDT

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