A federal judge in Detroit struck down the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program yesterday, calling it unconstitutional and an illegal abuse of presidential power. The ruling marked the first court rejection of the controversial monitoring program and amounted to a broad rebuke of the Bush administration's tactics in the war on terrorism.An immediate halt was called to the NSA's Terrorist Surveillance Program, but, quite obviously and predictably, that was put on hold as DoJ attorneys filed an appeal as fast as they possibly could. Still, feels damn good to see.
"In this case, the president has acted, undisputedly, as [federal intelligence law] forbids," U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor said in a 43-page decision that sided with the American Civil Liberties Union challenge to the government system of warrantless eavesdropping. "Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution."
Some of the judge's comments are just stupendous. She said the program violated First and Fourth Amendment protections of free speech and privacy, and she repeatedly criticized the program as an overly broad reach of executive power. "It was never the intent of the Framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly where his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights," Judge Taylor wrote in the decision. "The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another." Later, "The Bush Administration has repeatedly told the general public that there is a valid basis in law for the [surveillance program]. This court finds defendants' arguments that they cannot defend this case without the use of classified information to be disingenuous and without merit."