Los Angeles, California
August 31, 2006
Pro-family leader wants investigation of judge who struck down NSA wiretaps
by Allie Martin
AGAPE PRESS — The president of the American Family Association of Michigan says a district judge, who recently struck down the U.S. National Security Agency’s anti-terrorist wiretapping program, should be investigated for a possible conflict of interest in that case.
Earlier this month, Michigan U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled the federal warrantless wiretapping program unconstitutional. The National Security Agency used the wiretaps to track suspected terrorists and their activities.
Shortly after the ruling, the watchdog group Judicial Watch called attention to Judge Taylor’s membership in a local foundation that gave $45,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, which was one of the parties in the suit challenging the wiretapping program. Now, AFA of Michigan president Gary Glenn is saying the apparent conflict of interest should be investigated.
If Taylor’s ruling is not overturned “on the substance itself,” Glenn observes, “surely the Court of Appeals will take into consideration the obvious conflict of interest that this judge had in being a member of an organization that is financially supporting one of the plaintiffs in the case.”
The Michigan pro-family leader points out that, under federal law, in cases in which there is some potential question about impartiality, judges are supposed to recuse themselves. He feels that should definitely have happened in the federal wiretapping case.
“If you have a judge who’s part of an organization that financially supports the ACLU, which is one of the plaintiffs in trying to stop that type of surveillance, that judge should be disqualified,” Glenn asserts. “And, consistent with appropriate judicial ethics,” he adds, “she should have disqualified herself.”
The AFA of Michigan spokesman says Judge Taylor’s actions in this matter are unethical, and it is outrageous that her conflict of interest was not brought to light before she ruled. Meanwhile, the Bush administration has said it will appeal the decision on the federal warrantless wiretapping program.