Do you remember when Spygate first made headlines and President Obama said he welcomed a debate about the need, efficacy and breadth of the NSA's mass surveillance programs? Well, it turns out that HIS definition of the word debate is quite different than it is for most sentient individuals. Oh, he is ready to talk about it alright, but no one else can weigh in, especially NOT the third branch of government.
The Obama administration for the first time responded to a Spygate lawsuit, telling a federal judge the wholesale vacuuming up of all phone-call metadata in the United States is in the “public interest,” does not breach the constitutional rights of Americans and cannot be challenged in a court of law.
Did you get that? The Executive Branch wants you to know that a) their mass surveillance is in the "public interest" b) they have deemed it constitutional and c) no one else -- certainly not a US court -- is allowed to review or modify a or b!
I'm sorry, but that's not the way our democracy works. No, that's the way a strict monarchy, fascist or authoritarian system operates. Our system was crafted to have checks-and-balances. One of these checks on an out of control Executive Branch is the court system. (Another is the Congress, but they've already waved the white flag.)
If the courts succumb to this kind of argument, then the democracy that we've been taught about for all these years is dead as a doornail.