"Following up on yesterday's post regarding Arlen Specter's complete (and hardly unexpected) cave-in to the administration on the NSA scandal, it is now clear that the bill does not have an express amnesty provision in it (see Update II). But every other possible bad thing can and should be said about this bill. Marty Lederman has an excellent and very thorough statutory analysis of the whole travesty, explaining that Specter "introduces a bill, with Administration blessing, that gives the Administration everything it ever wanted, and much, much more."
Jack Balkin's post is also very much worth reading, in which he concludes: "Barely two weeks after Hamdan, which appeared to be the most important separation of powers decision in our generation, the Executive is about to get back everything it lost in that decision, and more."
In essence, Specter's bill repeals each and every restriction on the President's ability to eavesdrop, all but forecloses judicial challenges, and endorses the very theory of unlimited executive power which Hamdan just days ago rejected (and in the process, rendered the administration's FISA-prohibited eavesdropping on Americans a clear violation of the criminal law). With this bill, Specter -- the self-proclaimed defender of Congressional power -- did more to bolster the administration's radical executive power theories than anything the administration could have dreamed of doing on their own, especially in the wake of Hamdan (permit me here to apologize for all of those times I tepidly defended Specter by characterizing as unduly pessimistic and cynical predictions that he could cave completely; the humiliations he is willing, even eager, to publicly endure are without limits).
UPDATE: The media's reports on this travesty illustrate, yet again, that the single greatest problem our country faces -- the principal reason the Bush administration has been able to get away with the abuses it has perpetrated -- is because our national media is indescribably lazy, inept, dysfunctional and just plain stupid, for reasons discussed in this comment from Jao and my response.
The reality, of course, is the opposite: this bill bolsters the President's theories of unlimited executive power beyond Dick Cheney's wildest dreams. But the media, as is so often the case, fails in its duty to inform Americans as to what the Government is actually doing, which then prevents anything from actually being done about it. For every instance of presidential abuse of power or profound policy failure over the last five years, that dynamic is a major cause."
note that Sibel says that Specter would be on the Dirty Dozen list if he was up for re-election.