Thursday, August 24, 2006

Conflict of interest?

This USA Today story is claiming that the recent ruling against Bush's warantless wiretapping program may be tainted by undisclosed bias from the judge. The concern in particular is that she is "a trustee and secretary of the Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan." This organization donated "$45,000 in recent years to the ACLU of Michigan for programs serving gay men and lesbians."

The ACLU is the primary actor in this civil suit, but it is not about gay rights in Michigan. Neither is it about censorship of internet access in our public libraries. Nor is it about protecting the privacy of Rush Limbaugh's medical records. The ACLU is a very broad organization with many independent goals. I respect the need to scrutinize possible conflicts of interest, but I get the feeling this is no more than a swift-boat attack on this judge's character to mitigate the damage to the reputation of the spying program and its ilk.

Update: Glenn Greenwald does an excellent job explaining the legal misunderstandings that support the scattershot of attacks on the quality of the decision in this case.

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