Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) all have law degrees, so one could be forgiven for expecting them to possess a basic grasp of First Amendment principles and jurisprudence.
But Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, entitled “Free Speech 101: The Assault on the First Amendment on College Campuses,” demonstrated otherwise. Each of the three Democrats made numerous gaffes during the meeting that exposed serious gaps in their understanding of both the Constitution and the body of largely 20th Century case law that has established and refined the Supreme Court’s understanding of the First Amendment.
The Intelligence Committee was forceful in asserting that it would pursue answers to its questions regarding Trump’s conduct vis-a-vis the FBI investigation. It should be equally forceful in demanding answers regarding the scope of Section 702 surveillance — answers that it needs in order to do its job properly and ensure that Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights are protected.