Monday, February 11, 2008

Dodd on the Floor

If for some reason you are not watching CSPAN this evening, go there now! Senator Dodd is on the floor railing against the Telecoms as the FISA vote nears. If this Chris Dodd would have appeared months ago as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, he would still be in the race today.

From his earlier floor speech today:
"This is not a Democratic or Republican issue: this is a rule of law issue. It is about striking the right balance between liberty and security. I absolutely reject the false dichotomy that we have to choose one or the other.

If a Democratic President was seeking to grant retroactive immunity, I would object just as stridently as I am today. This should not be a partisan issue. We should all be in favor of allowing the courts to perform their constitutional responsibility to determine whether or not these companies should be held accountable.

Mr. President, I believe when surveillance is fully under the rule of law, Americans will only be more secure. To claim otherwise is an insult to our intelligence, our common sense, and our proud tradition of law.

I don't know how many of my colleagues have ever seen the wonderful movie “A Man For All Seasons,” the story of St. Thomas More.

There is a wonderful scene in that movie in which More is asked whether he'd be willing to cut down every law in England to get his hands on the devil.

And More replies, absolutely not. “When the last law was down, and the Devil turned ‘round on you, where you hide, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast—Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down…do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?”

Those laws know no secrecy, they know no distinctions for power or wealth. They live, that is, in openness.

And when that openness has been defended, when the facts are in the light, where they belong, I welcome all of my colleagues’ ideas in the great and ongoing debate on security and liberty in this new century, a debate in the open, and open to us all."
Dodd has taken the floor this evening with more gusto than I have seen in the U.S. Senate in years--even more gusto than the speeches of Senator Byrd in defense of the Constitution.

Dodd has memorized Justice Jackson's opening statement at the onset of the Nuremberg trials and is using it wisely in justifying his position on upholding the rule of law.

To see a clip from Dodd's earlier speech, please follow this link to video on Dodd's Senate page.

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