Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Judicial Politics

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.
Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.
It seems odd that a judge would resign because he felt policy enacted by the Executive Office – an action that doesn’t directly impact his role – was legally questionable.  Wouldn’t such a judge be more likely to stick around so that they can influence the legal process?

I can see why Judge Robertson would be upset, but there seems to be more to this story than we are being told.  Perhaps he was looking to resign anyway and found the timing advantageous for a political statement?

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