Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith, and Baker: “All” Is the “Best” Reading of “Relevant”

Four MusketeersTowards the end of the Memorandum of Law in support of the Internet dragnet — which was signed by those guys ———-> — DOJ makes a claim that its reading of “relevant” to mean “almost all” was the best possible reading.

Here, by contrast, reading the term “relevant” to permit the collection of this critical information during wartime is a construction rooted in the text that requires no stretching of the ordinary meaning of the terms of the statute at all. In fact, for all the reasons outlined above, interpreting section 402 to authorize the collection the Government has requested in the best reading of the plain terms of the Act.

This is why you should not have secret courts.

I get making an aggressive push to authorize dragnet surveillance.

I get mining old and foreign dictionaries to come up with a definition that suits your needs.

But after you’ve made your best ditch effort to stretch the meaning of words, secretly, beyond all recognition, don’t then, secretly, pat yourself on the back pretending that wasn’t the game you just pulled.

But hey. Who’s the chump? After all, we now know that Misters Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith, and Baker pulled this off.

Yet no one is making any effort to put the English language back on some kind of sane footing. Nothing in any of the “reform” efforts before Congress attempts to put sanity back into the word “relevant.”

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5 Responses to Ashcroft, Comey, Goldsmith, and Baker: “All” Is the “Best” Reading of “Relevant”

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @armandodkos Super stare! Heh.
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bmaz @armandodkos I agree. Not what Obamacare supporters want to hear right now though. Right or wrong, it is what it is, and arguably controls.
12mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Newly minted liberal hero Richard Posner thinks King/Halbig Obamacare defense linchpin, the Chevron case, was horribly wrongly decided.
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bmaz @MonaHol @shameproject @mike_stark @radleybalko On Zimmerman, and lack of pertinence of core SYG, Radley was exactly correct.
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emptywheel RT @QuinlanTL: .@ANANurses urge leniency for #nurse who refused to #ForceFeed #Guantanamo #prisoners | #security #HumanRights #law | http:/…
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emptywheel @ggreenwald Note, @TimothyS is hosting @JamesRisen at FDL Book Salon tomorrow at 5ET. Should be great convo abt profiteering and war.
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emptywheel .@Krhawkins5 More importantly, Bob Graham WAS starting an investigation in 2002 before Roberts thought of "about 10 reasons not to do so."
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bmaz @JustADCohen Um, no.
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emptywheel RT @maassive: Taos: Famous for skiing, Dennis Hopper's grave and, now, illegal subpoenas for phone records. https://t.co/ElssstKjCl
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emptywheel @BartNaylor But only revolving door banksters can find bankster crime. @alexisgoldstein
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emptywheel The Drone Rule Book Has Made It Easier for Our Partners Drone Kill With Us Again https://t.co/VGIhoC0yCR
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emptywheel John Bates harshes on @JustSecurity, perhaps bc @steve_vladeck got him spanked for presuming to speak for courts http://t.co/TjvhMFT9Mb
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