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View Diary: BREAKING: The Guardian and Glenn Greenwald Do it Again....Top Secret FISA Court Documents Revealed (627 comments)

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  •  By statute, they're district judges, (0+ / 0-)

    not circuit judges. The court of review that handles appeals from the very few denials can be circuit or district judges, but AFAIK all have been circuit judges to date. (Just to keep things straight.)

    •  Yes, FISA court is trial (district) judges... (0+ / 0-)
    •  Picked by John Roberts, as I understand... (0+ / 0-)

      Ou sont les neigedens d'antan?

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 12:12:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. With some geographical constraints, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but otherwise at the Chief's discretion. Last I checked, all but one were appointed by a Republican president.  

        FWIW, though, there's scholarship that suggests that Rehnquist's appointments, while predictably conservative, didn't actually differ much from the base conservatism level in the federal judiciary during his tenure. That is, a FISC randomly selected from the whole pool of district judges might well have performed about the same. Given the Bushes' numbers of appointees to the bench, the same may be true under Roberts. That's one consequence of the unfortunate difference between Democratic and Republican administrations after Carter. Republicans have been far more strategic about judicial nominations.

        Add on the fact that there are plenty of pro-gov't, pro-prosecution, pro-surveillance Democrats, and you get the likelihood of a court that, while not necessarily a rubber stamp (I don't have the data to conclude that but it's fun to watch everyone take that Rorschach test), certainly tips the scales toward the gov't getting the surveillance authority it wants. That, along with the ability to control the composition of the appellate reviewing body, may be why Rehnquist appointed quite a few Democrats to the FISC in his later years. It's a deeper problem than party affiliation.

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