Secret Law is Not Law


#1

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#2

From the perspective of the US government, I’m sure the old playground bully retort “Yeah? But what are you gunna do about it?” comes to mind.


#3

#4

They rely on the Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules.


#5

Beware of the leopard


#6

#7

Let’s be clear and remove the “international human rights” part. Wherever ignorance of the law is not an excuse secret law does not qualify as “law”.


#8

Yet the legal basis for these unprecedented intrusions into privacy remains opaque.

The legal basis is their ability to continually pull the ‘national security, we don’t have to tell you jack’ card. And absolutely nothing else.


#9

The Trial

Being American, I think of that book almost every day. To say that the US legal system has become Kafka-esque is an understatement. We’ve actually surpassed his dystopic vision.


#10

Perfect analysis. It should be a Supreme Court argument winner. “Should” being the operative word. But bravo for your simple, clear headed comment.


#11

If the program was legal, it wouldn’t be secret. If the program wasn’t secret, it wouldn’t work. Therefore, the illegal program must be secret, and is therefore legal. Q.E.D.

Pretty sure that’s all I need to get one of those NSA “lawyer” jobs now.


#12

The plans were on display…


#13

Ms. Cohn has so earned herself double secret probation with this one!


#14

Without wishing to undermine the validity of the point made, there is also a very good argument to make that “international human rights law”, as far as such a thing exists, is also not law, but rather a codified treaties between nations, lacking the required punishment to be a law…


#15

Assert our 2nd amendment rights?

By which, of course, I mean form a well-regulated militia, not some sort of rabble.


#16

Article VI of the United States Constitution states, in part:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

So treaties are part of U.S. law assuming they were negotiated by the President (or his representatives, I would assume) and approved by the Senate. From Article II section 2, which describes the powers of the Presidency:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;


#17

I disagree. Laws don’t necessarily have punishments associated with them, particularly laws that restrict governments. If the Canadian government passes a law that violated my rights under our charter, there is no punishment, but a court could rule that the law is not valid and that I can’t be bound by it. Basically all rights laws work this way.

The question is whether domestic courts have the constitutional authority and the interest in overturning legislation or awarding civil damages based on international treaties. I’m going to have to ask some lawyer friends, because I really don’t know about that one (and, obviously, it will vary from place to place).


#18

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