Direct link to MP3 file

We don’t usually have guests on Law Talk, but this week, if you listen closely, you can hear the barista at the Starbucks John recorded the show from, as well as the local fire department going about its business. Background noise notwithstanding, this week we delve into all the legal issues in the news: the NSA and Rand Paul’s rather unique interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, the fate of Edward Snowden, the legality of wiretapping, and your DNA and the law. Listen in — everyone else is. 

It’s the law: every one can benefit from Epstein and Yoo’s legal advice by subscribing to this podcast here.

Apologies for the repeat image, but EJHill was not available this week. 

Subscribe to Law Talk With Epstein, Yoo & Senik in Apple Podcasts (and leave a 5-star review, please!), or by RSS feed. For all our podcasts in one place, subscribe to the Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed in Apple Podcasts or by RSS feed.

There are 10 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    It seems that on the one hand, both Professors were arguing that a massive, metadata collection regime (in the NSA) is a) legal, in that the data collected is non-specific, and also b) not a real concern from a privacy standpoint, because someone (a “rogue”, to use the current administration’s nomenclature) is really unlikely to do something illegal or stupid with specific information. But while not much (aside from Snowden) has spilled out on the NSA, the IRS, which collects very highly specific information on tens of millions of individuals (which makes for a Very Large Array of Data), has had very specific information come out about abuses.

    Checks and balances always sound like a good idea.Yet what the IRS has done demonstrates that checks and balances do not work. If they work, it never would have happened.Instead, because of the sheer size of gov’t & its datasets, it’s virtually impossible for Congress or a Court to “check” an agency that resides under a President’s purview,even if they are briefed and consulted. I’m quite sure no one is going to get briefed on illegal activity occurring – because it’s being hidden.

    • #1
    • June 15, 2013, at 4:02 AM PDT
    • Like
  2. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    How does Congress defund anything if they refuse to pass a budget? How good is oversight if those called before Congress simply lie?

    • #2
    • June 15, 2013, at 4:43 AM PDT
    • Like
  3. Steve C. Member

    After listening, I find the legal arguments unsettling, but rational.

    Two questions come to mind. First, in the 60s, Army intel agents collected information on anti war and civil rights groups. When this was exposed, the defense was, “it’s not illegal.” We don’t do that anymore. Perhaps it’s no longer legal.

    Second, is the data collected available to civilian law enforcement investigating domestic crimes? Can the FBI request a pattern analysis of a phone number and use the results to further an investigation of say racketeering? Or does its collection under FISA preclude its use?

    • #3
    • June 15, 2013, at 5:50 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge
    The King Prawn: How does Congress defund anything if they refuse to pass a budget? How good is oversight if those called before Congress simply lie? · 1 hour ago

    Or refuse to answer questions? How’d all the checks and balances work out in Fast and Furious?

    Getting testimony or oversight after the fact misses the most salient point: This garbage should not be occurring in the first place. It’s become pretty clear that there are very few downsides to doing whatever you want to do in the USG, as long as you’re on the right side of the politics.

    • #4
    • June 15, 2013, at 5:55 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Nick Stuart Inactive

    Is this what people have in mind when they talk about “Congressional Oversight?” 

    http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/305765-senators-skip-classified-briefing-on-nsa-snooping-to-catch-flights-home#ixzz2WHh6qpXb

    • #5
    • June 15, 2013, at 8:43 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. Richard Fulmer Member

    A couple of weeks ago I posted a brief timeline of the long history of IRS abuse. As James Bovard pointed out in a WSJ op-ed, politicians find the IRS’s power just too irresistible.

    The NSA’s metadata files may also be too alluring not to abuse. How delightful to learn that Senator Jones and Congressman Smith are dialing 1-900 numbers or calling their secretaries at home just a bit too often and to then use that information to discredit or blackmail them. 

    • #6
    • June 16, 2013, at 3:16 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. Tobias Vaughn's Eyebrow Inactive

    I’m not going to listen until they both make the past 10 years of their email correspondence public.

    • #7
    • June 16, 2013, at 5:46 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Nick Stuart Inactive

    The good profs seem to fall into the camp of “everything’s fine, it’s totally legal and constitutional, nothing to worry about, it’s totally necessary.”

    Stipulating for the sake of argument that the data gathering and surveillance that we know about and that we don’t know about is entirely constitutional and entirely necessary.

    Perhaps next podcast Profs Yoo & Epstein can explain why we should have confidence in an agency and program that allows a high school dropout, community college dropout, Army dropout, contractor with less than 4 months on the job to have the keys to this program and the ability to release the information he’s released?

    Perhaps they can also explain why we should take comfort in the idea of “if and when there’s an abuse, we can deal with it then?”

    • #8
    • June 16, 2013, at 8:27 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    It seems like that was the major problem Democrats had when they argued that Bush’s administration was telling them the same thing – when Prof. Yoo was working there. Maybe it is fine. But I still don’t trust a gov’t with all those powers that is has demonstrated, repeatedly, will lead to abuse.

    Nick Stuart: The good profs seem to fall into the camp of “everything’s fine, it’s totally legal and constitutional, nothing to worry about, it’s totally necessary.”

    Stipulating for the sake of argument that the data gathering and surveillance that we know about and that we don’t know about is entirely constitutional and entirely necessary.

    Perhaps next podcast Profs Yoo & Epstein can explain why we should have confidence in an agency and program that allows a high school dropout, community college dropout, Army dropout, contractor with less than 4 months on the job to have the keys to this program and the ability to release the information he’s released?

    Perhaps they can also explain why we should take comfort in the idea of “if and when there’s an abuse, we can deal with it then?” · 10 hours ago

    • #9
    • June 17, 2013, at 6:35 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Fred Cole Member

    Troy, that intro “The only law school whose tuition is indexed to the price of the McRib,” 

    Was the best intro you’ve ever done.

    • #10
    • June 18, 2013, at 6:57 AM PDT
    • Like