Unsurprisingly, the live audience attending a broadcast of the Fox News “Dayside” program is quite eager to “sacrifice essential liberties for a little temporary safety,” as Benjamin Franklin famously put it (noting that such citizens frankly deserve neither). But surprisingly, Fox’s in-house legal expert, Judge Andrew Napolitano, has strayed off the reservation:
Napolitano: When Congress enacted the FISA act in ’77, it also made it criminal for anyone in this country to use the power of the government to wiretap without a search warrant. It made it easy to get the search warrant with the FISA law, but it said you have to get the search warrant.
Host: So what the president’s done is a criminal act?
Napolitano: The president has violated the law in the name of national security, not wanting to violate the law, believing he’s doing the right thing, but he violated it nonetheless. He can’t pick and choose which laws to obey and not to obey any more than the rest of us can.
Not too far off the reservation, but definitely at least one foot outside the gate. The audience is unimpressed: But judge, they’s terrorists! They wants to blow us up! Etc., etc., ad nauseum.
Audience member: We’ve got to give the President the flexibility to protect me. I use my cell phone all the time and I don’t have any problem with the folks listening to the conversations I have because they’re appropriate conversations.
And the audience bursts into applause.
If our democracy survives the next three years in any recognizable form, it will be in spite of morons like that.