Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

7/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

James Robertson shocked to learn of changes to system he formerly presided over

Retired federal judge James Robertson, who formerly granted government surveillance requests has become openly critical of the system of secret courts following revelations by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Retired from the District of Columbia circuit in 2010, Robertson was one of a select group of judges who presided over the so-called Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA courts.

Judge James Robertson said that without an adversarial debate, the courts should not be expected to create a secret body of law that authorized such broad surveillance programs.

Judge James Robertson said that without an adversarial debate, the courts should not be expected to create a secret body of law that authorized such broad surveillance programs.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/10/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Federal judge James Robertson, FISA, criticism, Snowden, PRISM


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic online) - The FISA court was originally intended to provide legal oversight and protect against unnecessary privacy intrusions. Robertson says he's shocked to hear of recent changes, which allow far more far-reaching authorizations of programs such as the gathering of U.S. phone records. He has called for a reform of the system to allow counter-arguments to be heard.

Judge Robertson said that without an adversarial debate, the courts should not be expected to create a secret body of law that authorized such broad surveillance programs.

"A judge has to hear both sides of a case before deciding," Robertson, speaking as a witness during the first public hearings into the Snowden revelations. He spoke to members of a Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, or PCLOB recently appointed by President Obama.

"What FISA does is not adjudication, but approval. This works just fine when it deals with individual applications for warrants, but the 2008 amendment has turned the Fisa court into administrative agency making rules for others to follow.

"It is not the bailiwick of judges to make policy," he added, the most serious criticism yet from a recently serving FISA judge.

Fisa judges had previously spoken anonymously to defend the court process.

Robertson says he was generally impressed with how "careful, fastidious and scrupulous" the court process had been, but felt the so-called ex parte system (where only the government is able to make its case to the judge) needed urgent reform.

"This process needs an adversary. If it's not the ACLU or Amnesty, perhaps the PCLOB can be that adversary."

Members of the oversight board shook their heads and rolled their eyes when this suggestion was made. The board has previously been described by Congress as an "ineffective watchdog."

The workshop also heard from a number of other experts who called for the decisions of the FISA courts to be made public later that day.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2014
Christmas, hope for humanity:
That the birth of the Redeemer may bring peace and hope to all people of good will.
Parents: That parents may be true evangelizers, passing on to their children the precious gift of faith.



Comments


More Politics & Policy

Obama's right, he has issued fewer executive orders than his predecessors, BUT... Watch

Image of Obama signs a bill while on vacation.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What's in a name? President Obama has ruled more from his desk, without the consent of Congress, more than any other president, but liberals are right to point out that these are not "executive actions" and don't count against his tally compared to other presidents. ... continue reading


Federal judge warned: Don't interfere with Obama's plan for deportation amnesty Watch

Image of U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about immigration reforms during a visit to Casa Azafran in Nashville,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In unusually strong language, the Obama administration warned a federal judge to stay out of the debate over President Obama's deportation amnesty. "Federal courts sit to decide cases and controversies, not to resolve disagreements about policy or politics," ... continue reading


Rick Santorum Seems Poised to Launch a 2016 Presidential Campaign Watch

Image of Rick Santorum

By Keith A. Fournier

I don't think I've met a 'suit' yet. It's very much heart of America, average Americans who have found a place where they see someone who will stand up and fight for them. If the Republican Party has a future - and I sometimes question if it does - it's in middle ... continue reading


You should be outraged! While Obama distracted you with a government shutdown, look what Senate Democrats snuck into this bill! Watch

Image of The White House has just received unprecedented surveillance powers thanks to an amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act for the 2015 fiscal year.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Overshadowed by the potential government shutdown and funding vote in the House, another bill was passed this week by Congress, one with much more sinister, and flagrantly un-American, goals. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Congress passed a bill that gives a ... continue reading


What are they covering up? White House attempts to delay CIA torture probe Watch

Image of Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday reportedly called Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, to tell her that the report's release should be delayed.

By Troy Dredge, Catholic Online

A Senate report, years in the making, which accuses the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA of using banned torture techniques while evading oversight may never be released, According to Bloomberg, there have been ongoing efforts by the White House efforts to ... continue reading


Landmark pregnancy discrimination case heard by Supreme Court Watch

Image of Depending on the high court's ruling, companies may be required to afford mothers-to-be the same

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A landmark case involving the rights of expectant mothers in the workplace was heard by the Supreme Court this week. Depending on the high court's ruling, companies may be required to afford mothers-to-be the same "reasonable accommodation" as they would ... continue reading


17 states REBEL against Obama, join lawsuit over immigration scandal Watch

Image of 17 states have banded together to sue Obama over his illegal action to refuse to enforce immigration reform, hoping the courts will block his attempts at providing amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Seventeen states have allied together in order to sue President Obama's administration, citing the president's disregard for constitutional limits to presidential power, and refused to fulfill his obligation to enforce U.S. laws when he attempted to dismiss ... continue reading


A distinct euphemism: Health care reform was 'political miscalculation,' Schumer says Watch

Image of When the Democratic Party focused in exclusion to all else, on health care, he added,

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

One apt euphemism - which is essentially a nice term very a not-at-all-nice term, is the phrase, "Economical with the truth," i.e. lying. Senator Charles Schumer of New York, in summarizing the massive loss by democrats in elections earlier this month, said ... continue reading


The man behind the mess of Obamacare wants you to encourage abortion! Watch

Image of John Gruber, the man behind Obamacare, is an ardent supporter of abortion.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The architect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), John Gruber, has made a fool of President Obama and the Democrats in his administration once again. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Gruber has been recorded numerous times admitting that the ACA was written and ... continue reading


Should Obama be able to use the IRS as a weapon to target conservative opponents? Watch

Image of President Obama has used the IRS as a weapon to target Tea Party and conservative opponents.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It should come as a surprise to no one that fraud and power abuse is rampant in President Obama's White House, and the new scandal fall on the heals of the old IRS tax scandals of the last few years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Treasury Inspector ... continue reading


All Politics & Policy News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for December 18th, 2014 Image

St. Rufus
December 18: Rufus and Zosimus were citizens of Antioch (or perhaps Philippi) ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter