"So: according to our Attorney General, the nation's top law enforcement officer, it might be legal for the President to authorize the government to listen to your purely domestic conversations without getting a warrant, without consulting a judge, without obeying any of the safeguards that our system puts in place. A few short years ago, when conservatives were claiming that returning Elian Gonzales to his father was a harbinger of tyranny, one might have expected some real outcry at anything remotely resembling this revelation. Now, it's just normal.
And that really breaks my heart. What's at issue is our Constitutional system of government, in which the President has to obey the laws just like anyone else, and the enormous power of the federal government is restrained by the requirement that it be exercised within boundaries set up by Congress and subject to judicial review. Now the President just asserts that he has the "inherent authority" to disregard the laws, and Congress just rolls over and plays dead.
It is wrong of the President to disregard the Constitution, the laws, and the separation of powers. It is also wrong for members of Congress, including those in my party, to enable him to get away with this. I don't say this because I want President Bush, in particular, to pay a price for this. I think he should, but that's not my main concern. What worries me is the precedent this sets for the country. No one, of any party, should take it lightly; and I cannot imagine why our elected representatives can't see this."