The proposed accord with the White House would seemingly avoid the issue of blatantly unconstitutional behavior by the Administration by retroactively creating a 45 day period in which the President could spy on Americans suspected of association with an unspecified list of terrorist organizations. A 7 member subcommittee (with 4 votes no doubt going to Senate GOP members) would oversee the program.
The deal would give the President a free hand to spy on any American for up to 45 days with no prospective oversight and no need for any warrant. In essence, the GOP wants to give the President a 45 exception to the 4th Amendment.
This ‘deal’ is no deal at all. It is a naked abdication of the constitutional duty of Congress to ensure that the Administration faithfully executes the laws of this nation, including the 4th Amendment and FISA.
The Administration’s argument, widely derided by serious constitutional scholars, avoids the issue of the 4th Amendment altogether, instead relying on ‘inherent’ powers stemming from the President’s authority over foreign affairs. Sounds like emanations and penumbras to me… Regardless of what deference the President might be due in conduct of foreign affairs, no power granted by the Constitution gives him the right to violate another part of the Constitution. The President’s foreign affairs power must be squared with the very explicit command that people be free from unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant issued upon probable cause.
The President’s flimsy excuses seek to eliminate Americans’ constitutional rights, and the Senate GOP’s ‘accord’ also fails to protect those rights. Instead, they would simply hold the force of the 4th Amendment in abeyance for 45 days to satisfy an over-reaching and jingoistic Administration, drunk on its own power. Democrats, and every Republican who still believes the Constitution is a higher authority than George W. Bush, must say "no" to this ‘accord’, which is nothing less than capitulation to lawlessness and the thin edge of a wedge of tyranny.