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A Delicate Constitutional Balance

RepublicansThe New York TimesCongressBy now everyone probably has heard of the terrorist financing surveillance that was disrupted by the New York Times. Despite strenuous objections by members of both parties, the NY Times ran an article that detailed how the US monitors banking transactions overseas to identify and track terrorists.

That was stupid and dangerous. Given that they exist at the epicenter of the 9-11 attacks, the NY Times, of all papers, should be sensitive to the perils we face when terrorists operate below the radar. The Times has made our country less safe.

However, the GOP controlled Congress seems to have forgotten a little thing we call the Constitution and a tiny subsection that reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Passing a non-binding resolution, while not a law, still sets a dangerous example for future generations to follow. The power of Congress to make laws is not something that should be taken lightly – especially by those who got elected claiming to resent the abuse of power by the federal government. Making laws that come dangerously close to treading on the Constitution is a horrible precedent to set

Conservatives should be alarmed that Republicans in Congress have grown so used to their power that they will wield it so carelessly.

The New York Times should be punished for their subversion, but that should not take the form of legislation. It should take the form of every Republican, at every level of government, refusing to grant them quotes, access, or even a seat at a press conference. Let them try to report the news if they are frozen out of the process.

Written by Michael Turk