18 August 2006 @ 05:12 pm
NSA spying ruled illegal - Federal judge strikes down warrantless domestic eavesdropping
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.

"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."
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.

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."
Matted_dirt on August 19th, 2006 12:34 am (UTC)
Hey great. Email me when this sort of shit actually has an effect on the GW Bush and Dick Cheney Administration's actions.

Business as usual dude, BAU.
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Rollarchmage on August 19th, 2006 01:15 am (UTC)
I know, I know...but it has to start somewhere. The fact that a court is saying anything like this is a start. Change never happens all at once.
Lux: Powferrelux on August 19th, 2006 12:42 am (UTC)
I'm thankful for this small boon, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable if this were an appellate ruling rather than merely a district judge. Typically, the government's side will appeal (they're just a bunch of frickin' lawyers anyway; they've got nothing but time), and hope to have it overturned at the next level up. Beyond that, of course, is the Supreme Court -- which it may or may not make it to. Right now though, they've got nothing to lose by filing an appeal.

Of course, things will continue "business as usual" while the subject is once again tied up in the courts. :P

And, this victory may become moot, in any case. There's currently a bill up for debate which has been proposed by Dick Cheney, through Senator Arlen Spector. Supposedly, this bill is to institute reform and "set limits" around such activity. In actuality, it makes this sort of warrantless surveilance entirely legal, and this courts' decision won't matter.

I wholely expect Congress to roll over and approve this, BTW. Lucky us...

God of Thunder and Rock'n'Rollarchmage on August 19th, 2006 01:17 am (UTC)
Yeah, I agree. It's going to appeals and you just have the feeling it's gonna get overturned...but it's on record, and that's something. Someone with some kind of power stood up and said "No" and that's impressive.
Lux: Babies or Coffeeferrelux on August 19th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
More background on the Specter bill -- Senate Bill S.2453, the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006.

From the ACLU site: http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/26255leg20060726.html

~LisaHopephoenxbutterfly on August 19th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
The bright spot is that with this being declared unconstitutional they will have to work around it to avoid the new law being tossed out.
No Time For Love, Dr. Jones: american sonpolarbear on August 19th, 2006 01:11 am (UTC)
Tantamount to saying "ARE YOU BATSHIT FUCKING CRAZY?!?!" but only in a much more restrained and polite manner. ;>
Coinneach Fitzpatrickscarybaldguy on August 19th, 2006 01:47 am (UTC)
I hope Judge Taylor isn't up for reelection anytime soon. Speaking TRVTH in this political climate is career suicide.
~LisaHopephoenxbutterfly on August 19th, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
I'd love to read the whole opinion, apparently she made some choice comments about how the 4th amendment was originally enacted because of King George's abuse of power.
blackwingbear on August 19th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
Unfortunately the law has meant nothing to them in the past and I doubt it will now..They are above any laws or ethics,apparently....