jollyroger's picture

    You know it's ugly when a Bush judge smacks down an Obama civil liberties infringement

    I have in the past, in colloquy with the lamented, gone-but-not-forgotten Articleman, urged the utility of deconstructing the arguments advanced by the Department of Justice as offering guidance to their inherent devotion (or the contrary) to civil liberties.


    That instance involved the (successful) Motion to Dismiss chosen to be  lodged against the claim by Anwar al-Awlaki's father for a hearing  prior to the former's assassination.  At the time I urged Articleman to consider the counterfactual, ie, that an administration truly concerned with giving a hearing before an execution had the perfect opportunity to do so merely by eschewing the filing of the offensive pleading, thus allowing both sides to proceed to debate the merits of the soon to occur drone attack.


    Today we have the unsettling re-iteration by our Nobel Laureate President (and his running dogs at the Department of Justice) of their assertion that Fourth Amendment jurisprudence raises no bar to the collection and retention of information detailing the origin, terminal, and duration of our various electronic communications.


    Simply put, when a George W. Bush appointee is to your left on civil liberties, you know that you are not right.


    In related news, Arabs advised not to use their supermarket store discount cards when buying Hummus...

    The judge stayed the order to allow for appeal. The appeal could take up to six months. There are three other NSA civil liberties case in the US District Courts.

    Ya gotta love a judge who finds an impermissible infringement of civil liberties, but then says, hey, keep it going cuz I don't have the balls to risk getting slapped down by the circuit court (cf the Hedges NDAA TRO, which was granted and then stayed by the 2nd circuit  )



    1) judges are usually a bit hesitant in rulings re: national security

    2) I seem to recall another case where an "activist" court of appeals judge halted a national security program, only to see that order reversed, made to look foolish. I imagine this judge realizes the same thing, so 6 months isn't really too long to wait vs. quarter till never. In the meantime, more Snowden releases make it likely next summer's review will be muy caliente.

    I seem to recall another case where 


    Yeah, that would be the Hedges case

    Has the judge set it up for recusing himself in future cases on this issue by saying how he is likely to decide in related cases that can be expected to come up?

    I don't think so.  That would be a stretch, as it was part of his analysis, and not ex temporare vamping.

    Via emptywheel, this still may be a step forward in terms of framing:

    Update: New Yorker’s Amy Davidson writes, “But what his ruling does is deprive the N.S.A. of the argument of obviousness: the idea that what it is doing is plainly legal, plainly necessary, and nothing for decent people to worry about.” That’s about what I mean by Leon breaking the ice. 

    His "Domino pizza example" (although betraying execrable taste in pizza...) does put the government argument back on its heels, and distinguishes the 1979 precedent upon which all the further cases turn.

    It's only a crime now.....cause a Demoncrat is illegally occupying the Oval office. I'm talkin about the Kenyan Usurper.

    If a Republican was in there, the Judge would back off, and let the GOP Decider use that stuff to clamp down on the opposition AND start another $$$ big war with it.

    Snowden is offering to help Brazil track down US spying efforts in return for political asylum.

    That's not quite what he said, but if you want to spin it that way, go ahead.


    Snowden offers to help Brazil investigate US spying in exchange for asylum



    Snowden Offers to Help Brazil if Granted Asylum


    USA Today:

    Snowden to Brazil: Swap you spying help for asylum



    Snowden is offering to help Brazil track down US spying efforts in return for political asylum.


    Brazilian senators.....have asked for my assistance with their investigations of suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens. I have expressed my willingness to assist wherever appropriate and lawful, but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so -- going so far as to force down the Presidential Plane of Evo Morales to prevent me from travelling to Latin America! Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.

    Thanks. Snowden was very clear in what he is willing to trade for asylum.

    The actions in the US courts will continue without regard to what Snowden does. The fact that Snowden is willing to help another country to obtain asylum is a separate but important story.

    It might perhaps be more accurate to characterize  the proposed transaction as asylum for counter-spying, no?

    Brazil spied on US interests in the past. It is not clear what activity is going on now.

    Brazil's intelligence service also monitored a facility rented by the US embassy in Brasilia, as ABIN concluded that the offices held "communications equipment." 

    "Functioning daily with the doors closed and the lights turned off, and with nobody in the locale,"
     is how the report described the rented property. "The office is sporadically visited by someone from the embassy




    The NSA electronic surveillance is going to hopefully be reduced under the courts.

    Other nations will continue to use electronic surveillance on Us interests and citizens. Snowden did not focus on what other nations were directing at the US.

    President Obama was not given access to an iPhone because the device could not be made secure. Don't you think a host of countries are actively trying to hack devices of US officials?

    On another issue, do you have any problems with Snowden, a US citizen, offering to provide security aid to foreign nations for asylum?



     I do have problems with Snowden, a U.S. citizen, needing asylum to avoid otherwise certain persecution for an heroic act of whistleblowing that is more and more coming to resemble (as Ellsberg himself contends) Ellsberg's epiphany.

    Bear in mind that the judge's decision which occasioned this post could not have come about without the Snowden material being available. 


    When the government relies upon protestations of security to cloak illegality, it is lawful to trespass upon that security interest.

    Uh, Ellsberg went to trial

    And your point is?

    How much time did Ellsberg serve?

    How much time did Thomas Drake serve after being prosecuted?

    How much time did William Binney serve?

    How much time did J.Kirk Wiebe serve?

    How many of the NSA whistleblowers were executed?


    With the steady drip of leaks, what would the Snowden trial have looked like?


    There was no trial in Snowden's future.  There was Gitmo.  Ellsberg was convicted.  He was freed on appeal because a judge was permitted to scrutinize the government's behaviour.


    That is no longer on the table.

    The leaked material was not in Snowden's hands. The steady drip of information would have made it easy to protest any incarceration.

    The NSA  court cases will move on.

    Snowden will be the guy who sold out to Brazil or elsewhere. We will later find out actions that Brazil used against the US so that Brazil could determine what the US's plans are for Brazil's neighbors.

    By going to Hong Kong, then Russia and now offering to help Brazil, Snowden is tarnished. Snowden will have his core defenders, everyone else will not share the praise.

    The lawyers who win the cases and their supporting organizations will be the heroes and heroines.

    color me core

    The lawyers who win the cases and their supporting organizations will be the heroes and heroines.

    The ones who would have had no case and no opportunity to be heroes or heroines were it not for Snowden releasing the documents.

    Color me core too.

    I acknowledged that Snowden would have his core supporters .

    I don't think that history will look at his Brazilian offer to trade knowledge of workings of a US agency for asylum as something honorable.

    Let's not get all "man without a country" here.  He only knows what he knows, and he has presumably dumped all that.  I'm not sure his ongoing personal services are at issue.  That said, the poor motherfucker needs asylum, and Brazil is a pleasant place.  Also, it is Greenwald's home.


    Are you seriously proposing that he owes some sort of duty to surrender to an outlaw regime?

    Note - Ellsberg was pre-9/11, in the days when hippies would protest against war, not support gitmo and invading Iraq and running a huge government dragnet on our personal lives. The game has changed significantly - we're all a bit of McNamera now.

      What hippies support Gitmo and invading Iraq and NSA spying?

    The poll shows that 53 percent of self-identified liberal Democrats — and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats — support keeping Guantanamo Bay open, even though it emerged as a symbol of the post-Sept. 11 national security policies of George W. Bush, which many liberals bitterly opposed.

    Obama has also relied on armed drones far more than Bush did, and he has expanded their use beyond America’s defined war zones. The Post-ABC News poll found that 83 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s drone policy, which administration officials refuse to discuss, citing security concerns…

    But fully 77 percent of liberal Democrats endorse the use of drones, meaning that Obama is unlikely to suffer any political consequences as a result of his policy in this election year.

    Support for drone strikes against suspected terrorists stays high,dropping only somewhat when respondents are asked specifically about targeting American citizens living overseas, as was the case with Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni American killed in September in a drone strike in northern Yemen.

      I guess he must be using it ironically, since Democrats, especially conservative ones, don't qualify as hippies.

      And regarding the people who "approve of drones", I'd like to know what question they were asked. If it was "do you support the use of drones against Al Qaeda operatives?", then  an answer of "yes" doesn't strike me as outrageous.  If the question was "do you support drone attacks that kill innocents?" or "do you support drone attacks that are in violation of the laws of war?", I don't think you would get the same results.

    In my official capacity as the last, lonely, hippie, permit me to say that PP is using the term ironically,  

    As in the "Dirty Fucking Hippie" (DFH) wing of the Democratic Party. ref. Atrios, Digby, et al. As in obligatory "Hippie Punching" whenever a serious Washington media type/corporate politician needs to show his/her grownup creds.

    Snowden is offering to help another country against the United States. Those who note a Brazil is a "nice country" might double check the racial history of the country.

    Snowden goes beyond informing the American people about the NSA outrageous surveillance program. 

    If they are successful, the lawyers will be the heroes in the fight against the NSA. A larger number of people can tell you that Thurgood Marshall was an attorney in Brown V. Board then can actually name the Brown that gives the case it's name.

    Against the United States? I don't consider the US government spying on leaders of other democratic countries helping US interests, "pro US". I don't think protesting it or pushing back against it is "against the United States" - quite frankly I think it fits in with those values I thought I grew up with, even though I realize all marketing is only so deep.

    The lawyers didn't risk jail or economic security to fight the NSA. It's guys like the anonymous mail service who shut his whole business down rather than comply. Thurgood Marshall is well-known because he was behind a smart calculated widespread strategy with the NAACP to overturn segregation, not just a lawyer for an advocacy group. But surely you're not so dumb as to not realize that more people know Rosa Parks, Marshall's client, than know who Marshall was? What kind of game are you playing? If Snowden were revealing how police forces were coordinating stop & frisk or revealing how Republican politicians were coordinating vote suppression in black communities, you'd be smothering him with kisses. But somehow you're enamored with surveillance as somehow keeping the terrorists at bay or doing some other bit of good, when every court case around your mass dragnet has shown claims of effectiveness to be hollow and they can't even name 1 solid case where gathering all this info convicted someone in a way that wasn't easily available without crushing the 4th Amendment. Of course in the 60's all black people were considered terrorists and any of these NSA methods would equally apply to gathering "metadata" and bank records and location information and acquaintances/phone contacts for the NAACP, MLK, the Panthers, Nation of Islam, black labor unions, auto workers, and those pesky northern Jewish organizers helping out in the south. And once MLK or Muhammed Ali spoke out against Vietnam War, why, then it became a pressing matter of national security - why they were undermining our military!!!


    I have been sticking to the issue offering to help Brazil. I have not been resorting to personal insults. As for the question of my stupidity in not knowing that Rosa Parks was more well known than "her lawyer", Thurgod Marshall, at least I am aware that the lawyer involved with the Montgomery Movement was Fred Gray and not Thurgood Marshall. Thurgood Marshall was known for his arguments in Brown v. Board and becoming the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. Gray's autobiography "Bus Ride to Justice" was revised and re-released earlier this year. It might help you differentiate Gray from Marshall.

    On the issue of how Snowden will be viewed if he is offered asylum by Brazil in exchange for revealing surveillance techniques used by the United States, I contend that the public at large will consider the Snowden is no longer interested in  informing the US public about NSA action. It is not about your personal feelings, it is about how the general public would view Snowden's asylum in Brazil

    I am not enamored of surveillance. I repeatedly said that the courts are the only hope to change NSA conduct.

    After reading your erroneous statement about Rosa Parks being Thurgood Marshall's client, I did not read the rest of the rant, because I doubted it was going to be accurate.

    We can hope that the other three NSA privacy cases have similar results. At the end of the day, the Supreme Court will have to weigh in on how much surveillance being done by the NSA is legal.

    Sorry you can't Google civil rights history or your lawyer heroes - as I noted, Rosa Parks more known than Thurgood Marshall or Fred Gray.

    The combination of the MIA, King, Parks, and a united African-American community made the boycott a success. About 75 percent of the public transportation customers in Montgomery were black, and they remained united for more than a year, as the boycott crippled revenues for the bus line.

    Parks lost her job and King’s home was attacked, but the movement kept the boycott in place for 381 days.

    At the same time, the segregation fight was making its way to the Supreme Court.

    On November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Browder v. Gayle, and it agreed with a district court that segregation on buses operating within Alabama’s boundaries was illegal, because it deprived people of equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

    The legal team that had pursued the case for the NAACP included Thurgood Marshall, a future Supreme Court justice. It had decided that Parks’ case would get tied up in the state court system and filed a separate suit on the behalf of four other women.

    See below

    The real point of metadate collection is to make reporting on governmental misdeeds impossible by chilling whistleblowing.

    A bit of Leon's history according to Robert Parry.

    I suppose one might reference FDR's thinking in putting Joe Kennedy at the head of the SEC...."set a thief to catch a thief?"  He certainly is described as an unlikely paladin of the left, but we take what we can get, eh?

    Interesting article on which Greenwald links.

    Worth reading to the end.

    Concise, precise, and depressing.

    One of the things I often find missing from this discussion is any attempt at any objective, realistic assessment of "the threat," such as it is or if it is.

    Maybe there's no threat. Maybe the threat is easily derailed with some intelligent defensive moves. Or maybe the threat asks for preventive action of some sort.

    I read somewhere that what turned Obama's head around on this issue was the Ft. Hood shootings and Christmas bomber. Not so much what happened, but what could've happened had the shooter been more capable or the bomb had gone off.

    Or PP said a few months ago...we, as a people, simply need to buck up and realize that some terrorist plots will work. 100% security is impossible not worth a major curtailment of our liberties. It might be too much to ask any president or politician to come clean with the public in that way...but maybe not.

    (It might work if the politician prefaced his "confession" with a detailed discussion of he or she was doing to prevent such an event from happening.)

    Sometime over a year ago, Bill Maher held up a picture of the damage done to a Texas city, maybe Galveston, by a hurricane. He made the astute observation that if the same damage had been done by terrorists we would've lost our collective shit and invaded or bombed the terrorists' country of origin.

    But as it was "just" a hurricane, the people of that city and the state of Texas simply pulled up their overalls and got to work rebuilding, healing the hurt, and providing for the newly homeless. The damage would've been the same, but our response would've been entirely different.

    I guess the observation holds if we're just talking about damage, but if we elevate the attack to a dirty bomb or real nuclear device or a biological attack with the power to contaminate a wide area for many years...then maybe not.

    And maybe it matters if the damage is done by a person rather than an inanimate force that can't be controlled and doesn't "know any better."

    I don't think you can underestimate the role of a desire for revenge, unavailable in the case of the Hurricane

    Recall that George W. Bush turned his whole disasterous post attack standing around through the simple promise "Those people will hear us soon..." 

    Bluster sells,

    When the Boston Bombers were on the loose citizens willingly let an army of law enforcement including armored vehicles take command of an area. When the situation ended, the departing police were greeted with applause and cheers. Was this the rational response to danger or should the citizens have rejected the police presence?

    If a mother lives  in a crime- ridden area does she have the right to own a gun to protect her household?

    I'm trying to asses some of your parameters.

    1.  The quasi military Boston response was over the top and counterproductive.  It was only when an alert citizen left his "shelter in place" that he spotted the younger Tsarnaev, who had eluded all the tach-ed out cops and their armored personnel carriers, etc.


    2. of course  (Parentheticall, when I was obliged to work late and lived in the East Bay, during the time when the rapist known as "stinky" was abroad, I bought my wife a 357 magnum and taught her to shoot.  This almost turned out badly when I later started cheating on her, but that's another story.)

    What do you think the response of the public would have been if the elected officials said that they were not calling in the "over the top" response to track down the bombing suspects?

    Security theatre is preposterous whether it is a city wide lockdown to pursue a wounded criminal or national guardsmen patrolling airports with unloaded M16s.  I am not impressed by your reference to public opinion--let's talk about efficacy.

    I'm unaware of comparison data on the most efficacious way to deal with lone wolf bombers in a city.

    If we talk about efficacy, then I think you have to be prepared to relent should the other side win that argument.

    Isn't the more principled argument based on the fourth amendment? Even if a procedure is efficacious, it's unconstitutional. Surely, it's less efficacious to read someone his Miranda rights, yes?

    Switching gears a bit...

    It's always struck me as a bit odd for people to point to the Tsarnaev case as proof of the inefficaciousness of the police's full-court press. "See?" they say, "Some guy going out for a smoke was able to nab the wounded brother when all the King's Men were unable to."

    Sometimes they add that "the Russians basically offered up the Tsarnaevs on a silver platter to the Americans they STILL bumbled it. What are we spending all this money on unconstitutional methods, when it doesn't even work in the easiest of cases?"

    To the first objection, it's pretty clear to me that had the police not been scouring the city for them with the whole place in lock down, the kid would never have hidden in the boat. Not even clear the homeowner would have been on alert for anything odd.

    And assuming the kid had any brains (which is unclear), he would've cleared out of there. Why the two of them didn't do that at first is also unclear. Perhaps they didn't know right away that they'd been videotaped. The older one seemed more zealous and less stable and clear thinking.

    The second argument seems stronger to me. However, mistakes are always made. Easy balls are whiffed. Maybe, at the time, the Americans thought the Russians were over-reacting. (Don't we want our guys not to overreact?) Maybe they were thinking "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Hard to know what went wrong there. Maybe it's been written up somewhere, but I haven't read it.

    However, that they whiffed an easy one doesn't mean they haven't nailed a bunch of others. This is my problem: There's been no public assessment of the efficaciousness of the program nor an assessment of the threat, assuming there is one. Maybe there can't be given that it has to be at least somewhat secret.

    I'm inclined to agree with the fourth amendment argument and PP's point that the American public has to be willing to accept that some terrorist attacks will get through. They do anyway. But I do think there would've been a public shit storm if the authorities had not been seen to be moving heaven and earth to find these guys.

    Think what the right has done with Benghazi, at least among its followers. However bogus it may be, a lot of people believe that Obama et al simply allowed those folks to die. Even if there was nothing that could've been done, they fault him for not having "moved heaven and earth" to try to save them, e.g., send in the jets, etc.

    That's over in Libya. It's 100 times worse when it's a domestic event that strikes at a location where anyone could see himself attending and feeling safe. Hard to know. I don't think there's a clear cut answer. Always a balance to strike.

    However, that they whiffed an easy one doesn't mean they haven't nailed a bunch of others. This is my problem: There's been no public assessment of the efficaciousness of the program nor an assessment of the threat, assuming there is one. Maybe there can't be given that it has to be at least somewhat secret.

    But there has been a discussion of the efficacy of these surveillance programs. I've posted several links to Senators Wydan and Udall as well as articles that state that there is no evidence that these metadata programs has lead to the arrest or discovery of any terrorist plots. The NSA released a list of about 50 plots they claimed were discovered or foiled by the metadata programs. There are many articles that go though those 50 cases and explain them in detail. None of them relied on the metadata programs. In most cases the tip came from outside the program and a wiretap warrant issued against just those suspects could have achieved the same objective without recording the metadata of millions of innocent phone and internet users.

    I really don't have time to search my comments for those links or do a search to find them or related articles. But in Judge Leon's decision he states, “the Government does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the Government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature.”

    That's fair.

    Seconded. And numerous times the government's claims of effectiveness have been shown to be tenuous or misleading or simply wrong. And that's with the government using the advantage of classified unreviewable info & innuendo to massage its case.

    New news:

    Obama review panel: strip NSA of power to collect phone data records

    • Review proposes greater authority for spying on foreign leaders

    • Government 'should be banned from undermining encryption'

    • Forty-six recommendations in 300-page report released early

    By Dan Roberts in Washington and Spencer Ackerman in New York
    The Guardian, 18 Dec., 2013 18.36 EST

    Obama Panel Recommends New Limits on N.S.A. Spying

    By David E. Sanger and Charlie Savage, New York Times, Dec. 18, 2013 4:01 PM ET

    A panel of presidential advisers who reviewed the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices urged President Obama on Wednesday to end the government’s systematic collection of logs of all Americans’ phone calls.

    White House panel urges new limits on NSA

    No longer keeping a database of phone records and scrutinizing decisions to spy on foreign leaders are recommended.

    I believe the plan is till to save the metadata, but on the telco's servers, only to be sifted after specific court order.


    I continue to believe that the real purpose of this program is to facilitate the subversion of press shield laws.  For that purpose, I'm not sure how much relief will bloom in the community of leakers over the change in procedure--prolly some.

    Via EmptyWheel, Judge Leon seems to be extremely skeptical of the government's case despite giving them 6 months to prove it.

    I am not convinced at this point in the litigation that the NSA’s database has ever truly served the purpose of rapidly identifying terrorists in time-sensitive investigations, and so I am certainly not convinced that the removal of two individuals from the database will “degrade” the program in any meaningful sense....
    In [staying my order to destroy the plaintiffs' metadata] I hereby give the Government fair notice that should my ruling be upheld, this order will go into effect forthwith. ...I fully expect that during the appellate process, which will consume at least the next six months, the Government will take whatever steps necessary to prepare itself to comply with this order when, and if, it is upheld. Suffice it to say, requesting further time to comply with this order months from now will not be well received and could result in collateral sanctions...


    Protecting Citizens, and Their Privacy
    Op-Ed Contributors, New York Times, Dec. 19/20, 2013

    [....] Our recommendations, as members of the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies, appointed in August, are designed to strengthen the protection of privacy and civil liberties without compromising the central mission of the intelligence community.

    Our major conclusion is that the nation needs a package of reforms that will allow the intelligence community to continue to protect Americans, as well as our friends and allies, while at the same time affirming enduring values, involving both privacy and liberty, that have made the United States a beacon of freedom to so much of the world. We made 46 recommendations to the president. We offer here a summary of 10 of our most significant conclusions, in the hope of explaining our reasoning to the American people and encouraging a public discussion of these vital issues [....]

    Response to PP from above

    I didn't read your last response above because

    1) formatting made it difficult and

    2) it was likely as accurate as Marshall being Rosa Parks' litigator 

    there have been bombings in London Madrid and elsewhere. In the Boston case there had been a bombing followed by a gunfight with law enforcement. There were bombs thrown at pursuing police. 

    What would the proper response have been?

    The bus boycotts from Rosa Parks'  action were decided at the Supreme Court in Browder v. Gayle with Fred Gray & Thurgood Marshall representing the plaintiffs.

    The combination of the MIA, King, Parks, and a united African-American community made the boycott a success. About 75 percent of the public transportation customers in Montgomery were black, and they remained united for more than a year, as the boycott crippled revenues for the bus line.

    Parks lost her job and King’s home was attacked, but the movement kept the boycott in place for 381 days.

    At the same time, the segregation fight was making its way to the Supreme Court.

    On November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Browder v. Gayle, and it agreed with a district court that segregation on buses operating within Alabama’s boundaries was illegal, because it deprived people of equal protection under the 14th Amendment.

    The legal team that had pursued the case for the NAACP included Thurgood Marshall, a future Supreme Court justice. It had decided that Parks’ case would get tied up in the state court system and filed a separate suit on the behalf of four other women.



    Reading is fundamental. Parks was not involved in the Supreme Court case. Here is the an excerpt from a Rosa Parks centennial celebration I wrote

    As noted above, the case that went to the Supreme Court was Browder vs. Gayle. The plaintiffs were Aurelia S. Browder, Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith and Sue Robinson. All had been arrested before December 1, 1955. Rosa Parks was charged with disorderly conduct rather than disobeying segregation laws and her case could have ended up in a legal quagmire, so the lawyers when with cases that focused on segregated seating on buses.
    Rosa Parks was not a part of Browder v Gayle. The plaintiffs are listed above. You are wrong. Thurgood Marshall did not have Rosa Parks as a client in the Supreme Court case. I know this history better than you ever will.
    Back to Boston. Given gunfire and bombs, was the police escalation justified?

    I'm not talking about Boston - nice try, bub.

    Rosa Parks was the memorable hero of the bus boycotts, not the lawyers. It doesn't matter whether the court case they chose to move to the Supreme Court was hers or another - she was the memorable face for the movement, she kicked off the boycotts, she was the nonviolent protester, the boycott cases moved through the courts because of her.

    You may know the history better, but you're also more willing to twist the obvious for whatever you think you're doing. The winners in this uprising were the people who resisted in the streets, who pushed the boycotts, who organized the cars to replace the black taxis, all the other street activists - not just a bunch of lawyers.

    Your dismissing Snowden and thinking only the suits at the ACLU matter is similarly counter-factual - the ACLU & Freedom Watch been trying to get their dicks in the door at the Supreme Court for about a decade now, and they keep getting shut out as not having standing to complain, or that it's a matter of national security - meaning anything the government says has to be kept mum. So the ACLU wouldn't be able to do diddly, Cong. Ron Wyden couldn't even get any of the 5% of the docs he'd seen unclassified, so all we had for a decade was a growing problem with no way for court review. Snowden changed all that. The accolades and infamy belong to him.

    [to be fair to Marshall, Grey, et al from the NAACP - they had planned a strategy of litigation that Parks was privy to - for the lawyers at the ACLU and Freedom Watch, they're making the best of a new breakthrough. It should tell you something that the 2 groups of lawyers are pretty fundamentally opposed to each other, but in this case their goals line up]

    More on Rosa & the boycott case below.

    Aurelia S. Browder v. William A. Gayle challenged the Alabama state statutes and Montgomery, Alabama, city ordinances requiring segregation on Montgomery buses. Filed by Fred Gray and Charles D. Langford on behalf of four African American women who had been mistreated on city buses, the case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld a district court ruling that the statute was unconstitutional. Gray and Langford filed the federal district court petition that became Browder v. Gayle on 1 February 1956, two days after segregationists bombed King’s house. The original plaintiffs in the case were Aurelia S. Browder, Susie McDonald, Claudette Colvin, Mary Louise Smith, and Jeanatta Reese, but outside pressure convinced Reese to withdraw from the case in February. Gray made the decision not to include Rosa Parks in the case to avoid the perception that they were seeking to circumvent her prosecution on other charges. Gray ‘‘wanted the court to have only one issue to decide—the constitutionality of the laws requiring segregation on the buses’’ (Gray, 69). The list of defendants included Mayor William A. Gayle, the city’s chief of police, representatives from Montgomery’s Board of Commissioners, Montgomery City Lines, Inc., two bus drivers, and representatives of the Alabama Public Service Commission. Gray was aided in the case by Thurgood Marshall and other National Association for the Advancement of Colored People attorneys.

    Because Browder v. Gayle challenged the constitutionality of a state statute, the case was brought before a three-judge U.S. District Court panel. On 5 June 1956, the panel ruled two-to-one that segregation on Alabama’s intrastate buses was unconstitutional, citing Brown v. Board of Education as precedent for the verdict. King applauded the victory but called for a continuation of the Montgomery bus boycott until the ruling was implemented.

    On 13 November 1956, while King was in the courthouse being tried on the legality of the boycott’s carpools, a reporter notified him that the U.S. Supreme Court had just affirmed the District Court’s decision on Browder v. Gayle. King addressed a mass meeting at Holt Street Baptist Church the next evening, saying that the decision was ‘‘a reaffirmation of the principle that separate facilities are inherently unequal, and that the old PlessyDoctrine of separate but equal is no longer valid, either sociologically or legally’’ (Papers 3:425).

    This is sad. Verbiage does not hide your error. Gray, acting as lawyer, excluded Parks from the Supreme Court case, full stop. Above, you provide a statement about Rosa Parks not being a part of the Supreme Court case but you want to continue an argument. Sad. 

    Thurgood Marshall was not Parks' lawyer.


    Yawn. Parks launched the bus boycotts. The Marshall/Gray case settled them as US law. Parks was part of the legal case until they decided it better to keep her off the docket to better manage public opinion. What you think you've proved in all this, no idea.

    Rosa Parks from Montgomery, the other 4 black female bus boycotters from Montgomery. A koinkidink? Frayed knot.

    Again, Snowden's the hero/villain - not the pack of lawyers.

    You get a D

    It is not a six-degrees of separation game Thurgood Marshall was not Rosa Parks' lawyer

    6 degrees? Try 1 1/2 max, since the court cases, specific city of Montgomery, NAACP & MIA, boycotts and people involved were all tied together.

    The main point stands - only 1 person's name remains universally known from the boycotts - Rosa Parks. The lawyers, while essential for both strategy & execution, are 2nd tier in the story. From Fred Gray:

    The Montgomery Bus Boycott & Browder v. Gayle
    A Commentary by Fred Gray (Legal counsel for Rosa Parks and Aurelia Browder)
    I immediately went over to [Rosa Parks'] house. She told me what had
    happened and asked me to represent her. * * * Later that same evening, I went to Jo Ann Robinson’s house and we discussed the incident. During the course of our discussion, we outlined a strategy for action. We concluded [that] if we were going to have a bus protest in Montgomery...we must have it now. * * *
    ......The timing of the boycott was planned to coincide with the trial of Mrs. Parks on December 5, 1955. * * * The trial...took all of thirty minutes....We vigorously defended Mrs. Parks; however, Judge John B. Scott found her guilty and fined her ten dollars and costs....This case was important because it triggered the Montgomery
    bus protest.* * *
    ...I arrived at Holt Street Baptist Church about 6 p.m., an hour before [the first mass meeting to discuss a resolution] calling upon all African‐ Americans in the City of Montgomery to refrain from riding the buses until we could return to them in a nonsegregated manner....Not only were there thousands of African‐Americans
    crowded in and around Holt Street Baptist Church, but also a few whites....Such a feeling of unity, success, and enthusiasm had never been before in the City of Montgomery, certainly never demonstrated by African‐Americans...... The same bus company...owned the buses in Mobile [which] employed the same
    seating arrangement we were requesting in Montgomery. Thus, as a practical matter, there was no logical reason why the bus company should have rejected our seating proposal. * * *
    The Lawsuit to Integrate the Buses, February, 1956:
    In the back of my mind, I always knew the matter was going to be resolved in court, and not in an Alabama court, but in federal court. Within two weeks after the protest started, I began talking to the leadership of the
    MIA about a new case. I started the research, and talked with other lawyers, including Clifford Durr, Robert Carter, and Thurgood Marshall. In Browder v. Gayle we asked the [federal] court to declare the segregation statutes unconstitutional and to issue an injunction....I did not include Rosa Parks as a plaintiff in this case
    because I feared a question would arise in the federal suit about whether we were trying to circumvent and enjoin the criminal prosecution of Mrs. Parks....I wanted the [federal] court to have only one issue to decide – the constitutionality of the laws requiring segregation on the buses in the city of Montgomery. I had
    completed much of the advance preparation for the suit by the time Martin’s home was bombed on January 30, 1956....
    The bus protest was ongoing, but it was a hardship to many people. I knew that we had to give people something to hang onto to that they would continue to make the sacrifice of staying off the buses. * * * This was the first time I met Thurgood Marshall [and] Robert Carter....We would work together on many other cases
    in years to come [and he] gave me advice throughout the movement. He later retained me to assist him in [NAACP v. Alabama] and he assisted me in the arguments in the United States Supreme Court in Gomillion v. Lightfoot. Since Browder challenged the constitutionality of a state statute, a three judge federal court was
    convened. The panel consisted of Judge Richard T. Rives...Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr....and Judge Seybourne Lynne. * * *
    [On June 19, 1956 the court ruled] that the city ordinances and the state statute were unconstitutional. The ruling provided the impetus needed to keep the protest alive....The court used Brown v. Board of precedent for declaring segregation on city buses unconstitutional [but our people] still had to remain off the buses until the case was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
    [Later, during the trial of a case filed by the City to stop the car pools which sustained the boycott, a television newsman informed Mr. Gray that the Supreme Court had affirmed the decision in Browder].
    We were all elated that the three‐judge district court decision had been affirmed. We knew that segregated seating was wrong, and we believed it was unconstitutional. Now the highest court in the land had upheld our position. * * * Browder v. Gayle showed to the emerging civil rights movement the political usefulness of litigation strategies. * * *

    Questions (Select the correct answer)

    1. Who was Rosa Parks attorney prior to the SCOTUS case?

    A) Fred Gray

    B) Thurgood Marshall

    2. Who made the decision not to include Rosa Parks in the SCOTUS case?

    A) Fred Gray

    B) Thurgood Marshall 

    3. Fred Gray and Thurgood Marshall tried the case before SCOTUS. Who was not a plaintiff in the case?

    A) Rosa Parks

    B) The four actual plaintiffs in the case






    4) Who is most popularly associated with the Montgomery bus strikes?

    a) Rosa Parks

    b) Fred Grey

    c) Thurgood Marshall

    d) Aurelia Browder

    Who was the 5th Beatle?

    a) Murray The Kay

    b) Peter Schwartz

    Trick question. It was Pete Best. 

    Like Thurgood Marshall, Pete Best was not Rosa Parks's lawyer smiley

    Than you for avoiding the questions.

    You thought  that Thurgood Marshall was Rosa Parks' lawyer. He was not 

    You seem to have thought that Rosa Parks was one of the plaintiffs in the SCOTUS case. She was not.

    Thurgood Marshall is more remembered than the Browns who were the plantiffs in Brown v. Board.


    Last try & I'm finished. You started this with: "A larger number of people can tell you that Thurgood Marshall was an attorney in Brown V. Board then can actually name the Brown that gives the case it's name."

    This was a cheap trick to slam Snowden & say ACLU/Freedom Watch lawyers would be the true heroes, that they didn't need a test case, the American court system is oh so transparent & open to contest state secrets, ignoring say Gitmo prisoners held for 12 years without habeas corpus or frequently ability to sue or see a lawyer.... And I came up with a civil rights case where the person arrested - the test case whose arrest launched the boycotts, is much better known than the lawyers who litigated the case and the person whose name is on the Supreme Court decision. 

    Anyway, continue to pick nits and miss the point, I'm through.

    Your comment (that initiated the thread)9

    Thurgood Marshall is well-known because he was behind a smart calculated widespread strategy with the NAACP to overturn segregation, not just a lawyer for an advocacy group. But surely you're not so dumb as to not realize that more people know Rosa Parks, Marshall's client, than know who Marshall was? 

    You made the statement that Thurgood Marshall was Rosa Parks lawyer. He was not. Instead of noting your error and moving on, you doubled down and made the six degree of separation argument that Thurgood Marshall was indeed Rosa Parks' lawyer. You posted data that repeated noted that Parks was not a plaintiff in the SCOTUS case argued by Marshall and Gray, yet you continued to argue that Marshall was Parks' lawyer. You were the one who said Parks was Marshall's client.You were wrong.

    I contend that if Snowden works for another country to reveal US spy techniques, he will be considered a traitor. The public will look for other heroes to become the icons for the battle against the NSA. The lawyers are a logical possibility. An organization like the ACLU is another possibility. If Snowden is seen as working for another country, he will not be the hero if the courts end NSA current surveillance program.


    We need to remember that USA Today exposed the phone surveillance program in 2006.

    Thinking Americans won't find US government's industrial/economic spying defensible, so won't consider Snowden a traitor for helping a country defend against it.

    This is Brazil we're talking about, not North Korea or China - why are we spying? Big terrorist threat coming up from Sao Paulo? Worried about the price of ethanol or what?

    You're a great believer in American exceptionalism - you just don't seem to like it when it targets your race, but targeting anyone else's demographics is hunky dory. Seems strange to me, but I guess if I stop to think, not that unusual.

    If the public is given a different face as the icon for the battle against the NSA, the public will dump Snowden in a hot second. The meme is that he ran to Hong Kong and then to that haven of civil rights, Russia. If he goes to Brazil the country will be reminded of Brazil's racial strife. It will not be a win for Snowden.

    You bring racial attacks into everything. Let me state my position again. Hopefully you will be able to understand, no President is going to willingly cripple intelligence gathering. Even if. a President were to say that the operations were going to change, there has to be legislation  or laws.

    Some democratic and Republican Senators are willing to scuttle talks with Iran so the idea that Congress will come up with legislation is remote. The courts are the only viable option. Instead of jumping up and down about what isn't happening, I focus on what is happening in the fight against the NSA.Tere are four cases pending in US District Courts. That is where support needs to go.

    Stop and Frisk was challenged in court. There was a court case in the murder of a Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman got off, but a generation of youth has been inspired to combat immigration laws and Stand Your Ground in Florida. Legal action is pending on voter suppression.

    I think that I am consistent in the approach to the NSA and racial issues.. Others have taken the confused position that Zimmerman made a righteous kill and that a racist like Rand Paul is worthy of attention because he talks about easing drug laws.

    If  someone supports Zimmerman and wonders why Blacks don't rally around Rand Paul, they may have to take a back seat when discussing issues of race. Rand Paul was amazed that Blacks actually knew Black history and could remember the name of the Black Republican Senator that a Rand Paul forgot. Other people are unaware of the specifics of race- based cases that went to the a Supreme Court. These folks are as qualified to discuss racial issues as the Duck Dynasty patriarch who gives his own confused version of racial history in GQ magazine.

    It sounds like Gray was Parks' lawyer.

    It sounds like I don't give a fuck - the point is that Snowden/Parks risked their bloody skins to do something , not the lawyers who might be commendable but didn't risk being disappeared by some racist sheriff or forced into permanent exile.

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