Why I Haven't Blogged on the FISA Bill:
I haven't been blogging on latest developments in the FISA bill and telecom immunity, and I thought I would briefly say why.

  In my view, the issue seems to have entered the realm of political symbol rather than law. The President is making overblown and excessive claims about the need for the bill. (National security is at risk!) On the other hand, critics are making overblown and excessive claims about its harms. (This will give them the greeen light to break the law again!) It seems to me that the stakes on both sides are an order of magnitude lower than either side is pretending they are. That's not necessarily a bad thing for democracy. A clash of the branches is healthier for democracy than one branch rolling over and playing dead, even if it's mostly posturing. But it doesn't lead to a whole lot of interesting blogging on the merits.

  One exception to that rule is that there have been some very interesting clues from the public debate about how the Protect America Act has been implemented. Back when the Act was new, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out just what the heck in meant. Sounds the Administration have been making give us some ideas; in particular, it sounds like they did *not* enact a one-size-fits-all monitoring protocol, but rather have a series of monitoring protocols on a smaller scale. That's been my impression at least; given all the political posturing, I haven't been following the issue very closely.

  UPDATE: Some readers suggest in the comment thread that the views of critics of retroactive immunity aren't overblown. I addressed this issue in a long post back in December: How Much Difference Would The Proposed Immunity Deal Make?