Dodd: Does America Stand for the Rule of Law, or the Rule of Men?: This link includes both the video and text of Senator Dodd’s remarks on the floor today before the votes on amendments to the FISA bill (which were all ultimately shot down), and the subsequent vote on the bill itself (which passed). Senator Dodd has been steadfast in his opposition to the retroactive immunity grant to the telecoms included in the bill, and had already once helped block it’s passage (late last year). His efforts were ultimately unsuccessful today, but he is much appreciated. His words are also a powerful reminder of the risks we are taking with our liberty in service to imagined security. From his closing:
Mr. President, allow me to close with one of my favorite quotations – one I have recited on this floor many times. It is from Justice Robert Jackson’s opening statement at the Nuremberg trials. And it reads:
That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.
Mr. President, the tribute that Power owes to Reason is as clear today as it was when those words were spoken more than a half-century ago: that America stands for a transcendent idea.
The idea that laws should rule, not men.
The idea that the Constitution does not get suspended for vengeance.
The idea that when this nation begins to tailor its eternal principles to the conflict of the moment, it risks walking in the footsteps of the enemies we despise.
For, as Margaret Thatcher said, “When law ends, tyranny begins.”
Today, let us pay the tribute that Power owes to Reason today – in this moment, with these votes.
I implore my colleagues to vote against retroactive immunity…against cloture…and above all, for the rule of law.
Thanks again for trying, Senator.