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Walz wasn’t defending lawyers

The author of a recent opinion column is mistaken in claiming that Rep. Tim Walz voted to protect trial lawyers instead of telecommunications firms.

The problem with the bill extending the government’s authorization to spy on international calls was twofold: It appeared designed to hide spying still not known to us on the part of the Bush administration, and it took the unprecedented step of stating that something that happened in the past — in this case, telecommunications firms breaking the law under pressure from the administration — was not in fact illegal at the time, even though it was.

That would be as if we were to pass a law today which stated that driving drunk was not in fact illegal five years ago. One can imagine why the bill’s defenders might be eager to blame its opposition on the trial lawyers.

Paul Scott

Rochester

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