January 9, 2006
Fourteen of the nation's leading experts on constitutional law today issued an analysis concluding that "the Justice Department's defense of what it concedes was secret and warrantless electronic surveillance of persons within the United States fails to identify any plausible legal authority for such surveillance. Accordingly the program appears on its face to violate existing law." The letter, signed by law professors and former senior government officials, comes to the same conclusion, but in stronger terms, as an analysis issued last week by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. Signers of today's letter include former federal judge and FBI Director William S. Sessions, former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann, lawyers who worked in the executive branch under President George W. Bush, and Richard Epstein, a prominent conservative scholar and fellow at the Hoover Institution.