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Judge Rules NSA Wiretapping Unconstitutional 781

Posted by timothy
from the well-whaddya-know dept.
strredwolf writes "CNN is reporting that NSA's warrantless wiretapping program has been ruled unconstitutional. This is the ACLU lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars, and lawyers. From the article: "U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.""
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Judge Rules NSA Wiretapping Unconstitutional

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  • by Kelson (129150) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:29PM (#15927905) Homepage Journal
    The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

    Basically what this argument boils down to: We can't tell you why we're justified, but trust us, we are. This, despite the fact that 50% of the US and a good portion of the rest of the world does not trust the current US government.

    Of course, there's a well-established method of establishing that a search/wiretap/etc. is justified: it's called a warrant. In fact, for the past several decades, we've had a program in place that makes getting a warrant for wiretapping quite easy. You can get a FISA warrant quickly, confidentially, and even retroactively.

    Yes, retroactively. You can spot a suspect, set up an emergency wiretap, then a day later you can walk into the secret court and tell the judge why it was necessary to set up the wiretap. And you'll get the warrant. It's no hardship, unless you have reason to believe a judge wouldn't grant you the warrant.

    This whole thing could have been resolved months ago if the administration were willing to just say, "Oh, yeah, you're right, we should be getting warrants for this sort of thing. We'll start doing so immediately." End of controversy, they can still listen in on suspects, it's still done without revealing state secrets. Arguing that they need the ability to spy on people without warrants makes them look awfully suspicious.

    P.S. to people who do trust the current administration: just consider that someone you don't like will eventually be in charge. Maybe another Republican, maybe a Democrat, maybe the balance of power will realign and we'll be looking at Republicans vs. Greens or something for the next few decades. However it works out, someone you disagree with will be in the Oval Office at some point. Would you want them to have the powers that this administration has been insisting on?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I wonder how long before the Judge is found dead, "of apparently self-inflicted gunshot wounds"?
    • by EggyToast (858951) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:35PM (#15927965) Homepage
      P.S. to people who do trust the current administration: just consider that someone you don't like will eventually be in charge. Maybe another Republican, maybe a Democrat, maybe the balance of power will realign and we'll be looking at Republicans vs. Greens or something for the next few decades. However it works out, someone you disagree with will be in the Oval Office at some point. Would you want them to have the powers that this administration has been insisting on?

      That's already the case. Pretty much everyone who has rallied behind Bush and his administration for the advances of executive power that he's pushed for criticized Clinton for the same attempts. They granted the line item veto, only to have Clinton use it once and have it taken away. Bush has used signing statements to accomplish the same thing. Clinton's ties to industry were scrutinized; Bush's are clear, yet it's OK because it shows he supposedly knows what's going on.

      Directly related to FISA and the wiretapping, Clinton's administration conducted a few physical searches w/o warrants, which was legal at the time. When it was discovered, and a law was passed saying that a warrant was needed... they stopped.

      It's just a case of "When our guys do it, it's OK, but if your guys do it it's not" syndrome. What they really want to have happen is have a law that only takes effect when members of a certain party are elected. So there would be a "Republican Only" law that only works when the president's party is Republican. And so on.

      • by Bogtha (906264) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:58PM (#15928211)

        It's just a case of "When our guys do it, it's OK, but if your guys do it it's not" syndrome.

        It's an inevitable consequence of a populace that understands football better than politics. The idea that the parties are supposed to work together to support society is not a familiar concept. They think it's about two teams, one of which must be the winning side and one of which must be the losing side. They've picked a side, not realising that politics is not a zero-sum game.

    • by plague3106 (71849) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:48PM (#15928112)
      I'd expand the question in your PS to why ever trust an entity which can exercise total power over you? Its not wise to do, even if you like the people in said entity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sukotto (122876)
      Which works great when you're spying on individual suspects.
      This wiretap program seems to be spying on everybody. There's no way the secret courts can handle that kind of paperwork.

    • by gilroy (155262) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @03:20PM (#15929006) Homepage Journal
      Blockquoth the poster:

      However it works out, someone you disagree with will be in the Oval Office at some point.

      No, no, no. You just don't get it. The point of almost everything this White House has done is to ensure a perpetual Republican majority and infinite Republican control of the three branches. Everyone's arguing over whether they're committing a foul, while they're changing the rules of the game.

      And that's why the Republic is in trouble.
  • Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HTH NE1 (675604) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:29PM (#15927907)
    It doesn't mean they won't keep doing it anyway.
  • Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oddman (204968) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:30PM (#15927921)
    One branch of the U.S. government acts in a sane and rational manner, not to mention appropriate regard for the Constitution.
    • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Incongruity (70416) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:34PM (#15927959)
      Indeed. It just seems like a dangerous practice to be able to claim that national security trumps the constitution or seemingly substantive claims that constitutional rights have been violated. Protecting us by depriving us of liberty is not really protection in the secure, unharmed sense... but that horse has been beaten so many times that I'll leave it at that...
      • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:46PM (#15928086)
        It just seems like a dangerous practice to be able to claim that national security trumps the constitution or seemingly substantive claims that constitutional rights have been violated.

        No, it just is a dangerous practice to be able to claim that national security (or anything else whatsoever) trumps the Constitution. Full Stop. No qualifying statements are required.

    • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fyngyrz (762201) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:38PM (#15928004) Homepage Journal

      This is just a stop on the way to the supreme court. Don't be counting any chickens of liberty as yet. And remember: This is the supreme court that ruled that growth, distribution and use of pot within the borders of California was "interstate commerce", and it's not a lot different from the supreme court that ruled that retroactive registration of sexual and violent offenders wasn't ex post facto punishment, either.

      Don't get me wrong -- I applaud the ruling. But the fact of the matter is that for matters of state and country, things typically progress to the supreme court, and lower court rulings mean very little in the long run.

      • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jnaujok (804613) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @02:12PM (#15928351) Homepage Journal
        Sorry, you can't blame this court for that ruling. The decision that growing a crop in one state for consumption in that state is Interstate commerce can be laid squarely at the feet of FDR and his court in 1942.

        Wickard v. Filburn got to the Supreme Court, and in 1942, the justices unanimously ruled against the farmer. The government claimed that if Mr. Filburn grew wheat for his own use, he would not be buying it -- and that affected interstate commerce. It also argued that if the price of wheat rose, which is what the government wanted, Mr. Filburn might be tempted to sell his surplus wheat in the interstate market, thwarting the government's objective. The Supreme Court bought it. http://www.fff.org/freedom/0895g.asp [fff.org]

  • *Jaw drops* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JGuru42 (140509) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:32PM (#15927932)
    It's such a small article but with all of the talk that has been going on about the "alleged" illegal wiretapping this simple story headline was more then enough to make my jaw drop open in awe.

    However, how long will it take before Judge Taylor becomes just another of then "activist" judges?

    Bravo, Judge Taylor, Bravo.
    • Re:*Jaw drops* (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JordanL (886154) <jordan.ledouxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:38PM (#15928003) Homepage
      However, how long will it take before Judge Taylor becomes just another of then "activist" judges?

      If this case goes before the Supreme Court, I can almost guarantee that the SCOTUS will also declare it unconstitutional. The Administration is directly marginalizing the oversight powers of the very branch of the government which these people represent. It won't be an activist judge thing.

      And FYI, I voted for this guy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Alaska Jack (679307)
        "I can almost guarantee that the SCOTUS will also declare it unconstitutional."

        And, buried way down here in the comments where the /. crowd will ever see it, I can almost guarantee they won't.

        See, here's the thing. The program almost certainly isn't unconstitutional. Yes, the judge has ruled it so, but she produced almost literally no analysis to support that conclusion. She deals with the administration's 4th amendment exceptions arguments by -- almost completely ignoring them. The opinion is, after one da
        • Re:*Jaw drops* (Score:4, Insightful)

          by JordanL (886154) <jordan.ledouxNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:50PM (#15929890) Homepage
          She deals with the administration's 4th amendment exceptions arguments by -- almost completely ignoring them.

          See, the thing is that the "exceptions" to the 4th amendment have basically been, "trust me, we think this is important stuff".

          The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

          The 4th Amendment protects citizens from searches unless they have either given permission for the search to occur, (oath or affirmation), or a probable cause has been found. The thing is that the Constitution requires a probable cause for searches without consent, and without a warrant, there is little way to show probable cause before the search.

          I'm Libertarian... I'm not some teenage Liberal who's been brainwashed by the school system into believing that Republicans are the fourth sign of the apocolypse. But I completely disagree with the administration on this issue. A big part of Libertarianism is being secure in your person, effects and belongings, and this particular policy undermines that right.
  • So What? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bbernard (930130) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:33PM (#15927943)
    Not to seem too pessimistic here, but exactly what kind of enforcement is going to happen here? Is the judge going to order Bush arrested if they don't stop? Will the judge impound NSA's computers? Sure, it's a step in the right direction, but it seems much more symbolic to me that actually useful.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fyngyrz (762201)

      No enforcement -- just like all the other laws he's broken, Bush gets a free pass.

      But you... YOU had better weat that seatbelt, Mr. smart-ass.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rotten168 (104565)
      The only recourse to "arrest" the president is impeachment.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Mattintosh (758112)
        What if the president goes on a criminal rampage in plain sight? If he robbed a bank and took a few hostages, would the Secret Service jump in front of a SWAT sniper's bullet to save him? Would he get away without punishment? Somehow I doubt it.

        Now for the next question: What if the president goes on a criminal rampage out of sight? What if he wipes his ass with the constitution? What if he destroys the few remaining shreds of democracy left in the current system? Would he get away without punishment? I'll
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by internic (453511)

      Not to seem too pessimistic here, but exactly what kind of enforcement is going to happen here? Is the judge going to order Bush arrested if they don't stop? Will the judge impound NSA's computers? Sure, it's a step in the right direction, but it seems much more symbolic to me that actually useful.

      Look, I think Bush is a huge jerk and an incompetent leader, but I do expect that we will obey a court decision. His administration has become extremely "creative" in their interpretation of the law, I admit

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:33PM (#15927946)
    Does it mean that any arrests and prosecutions made as a result of information gained from these wire-tappings are deemed unconstitutional and their respective cases dropped and verdicts overturned? What happens to the people whos freedoms were violated by this unconstitutional act? .. sorry that's more than one question

    -Sj53
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:51PM (#15928151)
      > Does it mean that any arrests and prosecutions made as a result of information gained from these wire-tappings are deemed unconstitutional and their respective cases dropped and verdicts overturned?

      Oldthinkers unbellyfeel AmSoc!

      Or to phrase in in Oldspeak: Your question is moot -- when one starts from the principle that one does not need a warrant, it logically follows that one does not arrest, nor does one prosecute, because there is no case to be brought before any court, and no verdict need be overturned, because no verdict need ever be handed down.

      In Newspeak: Poster oldthinker, unbellyfeel Amsoc. Refs unwords "arrest" "prosecute" "constitution" "case", "verdict". Assign oldthinker MiniLuv reference subgroups educamp, joycamp.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:34PM (#15927961)
    As provided for under Section VI of the Patriot Act, President Bush will now declare U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor an enemy combatant, have her stripped and dog piled in Gitmo.

    Land of the free, eh?
  • by Saint Aardvark (159009) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:35PM (#15927966) Homepage Journal

    Welcome back, you guys.

    Signed,
    The Free World

    • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:49PM (#15928122) Journal
      Welcome back, you guys.
      Signed,
      The Free World
      Not so fast, there, bucko -- this will go to the 6th Cicruit Court on appeal, who consistently rule in favor of national security over civil liberties.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by elrous0 (869638) *
      It will be overturned. Cheney and his cronies would never have let this judge live to make this ruling (or not found a way to intimidate the plantiffs into dropping it) if they weren't confident of that. If it even makes it to the Supreme Court, you can bet Roberts and Alito will do exactly what the administration appointed them to do: give the president absolute, unchecked power.

      -Eric

  • State secrets? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:35PM (#15927975) Journal
    FTFA

    "The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets."

    What about the President's authority is secret? Is there some part of the constitution that you have to be TS/SCI to read? If the law exists that allows the President such powers, then let's take a look at it. I think the "state secrets" trump is going to fail them this time. It's not about the purpose for what's being done, but the authority to do so, and this judge has (thank goodness) made a sensible call that the President does not have the power to authorize this invasion of privacy, even to combat terrorism or while thinking of the childern.
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:36PM (#15927978)
    Damn activist judges, legislating from the bench! What's that? There was no legislating involved here? She was just ruling based on the laws that are already on the book? Well, she's still a damn activist judge!
  • by MufasaZX (790614) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:36PM (#15927985) Homepage
    I for one reject our NSA wire tapping overlords. Halleluiah for "activist" judges! =P
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:37PM (#15927988) Homepage Journal
    This has been anticipated and all the pardons have already been written and just awaiting a presidential signature at the right time.

    Yeah yeah people have been talking about how f*cked the government has become but the nice thing about the United States is that it DOES eventually correct itself and justice usually comes.

    The absolute and correct interpretation of how disastrous this presidency has been is now beginning. Worst administration ever and that has nothing to do with Republican or Democrat. It just IS.
    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:57PM (#15928207)
      but the nice thing about the United States is that it DOES eventually correct itself and justice usually comes.

      I'll believe that when Bush gets impeached and removed from office. His crimes are multiple orders of magnitude bigger than Nixon's, and unlike Nixon, Bush doesn't even have the decency to resign!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:37PM (#15927989)
    "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!" -- Andrew Jackson's reply to the Supreme Court on the subject of indian removal.

    The lesson learned: judges can strike down anything, but unless it's enforced, the decision is moot. Will the NSA stop? No. Will the government ensure they stop? No. What can anyone do? Nothing.
  • Divisive Issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MandoSKippy (708601) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:40PM (#15928025)
    I was listening to a local radio talk show when this issue came up. The host, a right-leaning Bush mouthpiece used the if you are against this program, then you are pro-terrorist. I actually called in and explained to him about the FISA court, and how it is retroactive, and most people (including myself and those I have spoken to) don't have a beef with the program itself, but more so the warrantless methodology used by the administration. The talk show host, quick on the reponse as most of them are Asked "So you would have activist judges like the judges who ruled that goverments can take your land and give it to corporations making the decision on whether you are wiretapped?" He was basically using a tactic that many policial folks, use another unrealted issue to hide the issues with the one we are talking about. Well, I responded quietly and firmly that he was using an unrelated case, AND in that case the Supreme Court did not rule it that goverment can take your land and give it to companies, but instead ruled that nowhere in the constitution does it state that people are protected from this, and as long as the process is lawful (which in Conneticut at the time it was) it wasn't the Supreme Court's decision to make. This is a correct judgement, and has lead to many newly passed state laws protecting citizens from this behavior. His response was "What are you a lawyer or something?" to which I replied, no just an informed citizen. My point? I am sick an tired of divisive issues like this being hidden in the terrorism crap... you are any NSA wire tapping, you are pro terrorism... that's BS. We just want security WITH protections of our rights. Some actually informed news people who could communicate the issues instead of getting all hot button on the issues wouldn't hurt as well.
    • Re:Divisive Issues (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuantumRiff (120817) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:56PM (#15928188)
      History is such a fun thing to watch being repeated... Just sit back, read the news, and everytime there is the word Terrorist, replace it mentally with "communist" or "japaneese spy" or "Indian." Man, why don't we teach more history in the schools? Honestly...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by oyenstikker (536040)
        They teach the facts at school. They don't teach you to think about them.

        It seems that one of the goals of the public school system is to teach the kids to think that government control, power, and regulation are good things, and will protect you from the bad guys.
    • Re:Divisive Issues (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Poppler (822173) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @02:12PM (#15928348) Journal
      We just want security WITH protections of our rights.

      You're missing the point. They're not interested in protecting you from terrorists at all, they're interested in chipping away the Bill of Rights. Stopping terrorism is just a pretext for a power grab.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kthejoker (931838)
      What you observed is called a "straw man" argument, and all talk radio (and television) personalities use it to their advantage. Every last one of them, liberal or conservative or anything in between. Because straw men lure people down a path towards extremism.

      You call in to complain about wiretapping, and suddenly you're having to defend every judicial decision ever passed down. And so you do, because you are The Loyal Opposition. And then you lose, because you tried to hold up the straw man.

      PS you should'
  • the obvious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SafariShane (560870) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:41PM (#15928034)
    The reason that they do not want to retroactivley get warrents is simple. Elegant actually. They are tapping an extreme amount of traffic, more than any of us can imagine. Probably entire geographic regions. Much later on when someone is suddenly suspected of being a terrorist, they have at their fingertips mountains of backdated infomation to sift through to see what you've been up to. There is likely waaaaay too much data to peek at it all, but if you suddenly became a terror suspect tomorrow, they are going to listen to your overseas calls from three years ago.

    That's why they can't go to the court and get a warrent "retroactivley". The judges on the court can't time travel, and would be freaking pissssed to find out that the government is doing in effect that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by plague3106 (71849)
      Let me correct something for you:

      Much later on when someone is suddenly suspected of being a terrorist, they have at their fingertips mountains of illegally gathered backdated infomation to sift through to see what you've been up to.

      See, that's where their argument really crumbles. Its illegal to wiretap, no matter when you decide to eventually get around to listen to that tap. Their argument is not ingenious at all, its rather weak.
  • by lawpoop (604919) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:44PM (#15928069) Homepage Journal
    Folks, it isn't over until it's over. The ruling can still be appealed. Bush nominated judge Samuel Alito to the supreme court. Alito subscribes to the notion of the unitary executive [wikipedia.org], which basically means that anything the president does is legal, by definition. Alito may be sympathetic to the administration's view on this. He is just one of nine judges, but I point him out to show you who Bush is appointing.

    Remember the Total Information Awareness project, proposed by Admiral Poindexter, shortly after 9/11? It was to be a gigantic database of all electronic information -- the complete, ongoing electronic record of every US citizen. Of course, because of public outcry, the project was defunded. However, the project has simply been broken apart and pursued. Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says "An unknown number of TIA's functions have been merged under the codename "Topsail".

    We don't know the full story, yet we are being given some very clear, bright red flags. Why does the government need to keep track of every single citizen?
  • by Wind_Walker (83965) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:48PM (#15928111) Homepage Journal
    In other news, freak power outages have been reported all over the United States today. Experts attribute this power outage to the newly-installed generators on the Founding Fathers' graves. Powered by their eternal rolling over, they were expected to provide power to the United States for the duration of the Bush presidency.

    The Department of Energy has urged power consumers to attempt to cut back on their energy usage until new generators can be installed on the Republican Spin machine, which provides nearly as much spin as the Founding Fathers' graves.
  • I wonder if ... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:49PM (#15928113) Journal
    W. had not pushed the patriot act, if the judge would still have ruled the same way. One part of the act was to allow (in fact, insists on it), that data moves from NSA/CIA to the DOJ/DHS that was collected while in the persuit of terrorists. Had that not been there, and had the NSA been operating the same as always (all data is kept to self except for chasing a real terrorists), I suspect that she would have had less reason to rule this.
  • Which Congressman? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @01:56PM (#15928193) Homepage
    Which Congressman will have the courage to introduce articles of impeachment?

    Note: Conyers backed down [washingtonpost.com] this past May.

  • by End Program (963207) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @02:01PM (#15928241)

    I think the sad part of this story is that the ALCU are the ones standing up for our rights. Where is the outrage? The problem is Americans are too complacent in their SUV and Mc-Mansion lives to give a F***.

    I remember a poll a while back that stated 50% of people surveyed are willing to give up their rights if they thought it would help the war on terror. I am sure that's not what our forefathers had in mind.

    Most people just take their freedoms for granted and assume they will always be there. I can imagine the look on their faces when the police show up to randomly search their homes, and they state "Don't you need a warrant for this?" and the police reply "Nope. Not any more!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ScouseMouse (690083)
      >I am sure that's not what our forefathers had in mind.


      They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
  • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @02:12PM (#15928347) Journal
    "U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy."
    I am concerned that Jr. would pull an Andrew Jackson and DARE the court to enforce its ruling.
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @02:22PM (#15928449) Homepage

    The actual decision by the court [cnn.net] is worth reading. Some quotes:

    • "In this case, the President has acted, undisputedly, as FISA forbids. FISA is the expressed statutory policy of our Congress. The presidential power, therefore, was exercised at its lowest ebb and cannot be sustained."
    • "We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all "inherent powers" must derive from that Constitution."
    • "For all of the reasons outlined above, this court is constrained to grant to Plaintiffs the Partial Summary Judgment requested, and holds that the TSP violates the APA; the Separation of Powers doctrine; the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution; and the statutory law."
    • "The Permanent Injunction of the TSP requested by Plaintiffs is granted inasmuch as each of the factors required to be met to sustain such an injunction have undisputedly been met. The irreparable injury necessary to warrant injunctive relief is clear, as the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Plaintiffs are violated by the TSP. See Dombrowski v. Pfister, 380 U.S. 479 (1965). The irreparable injury conversely sustained by Defendants under this injunction may be rectified by compliance with our Constitution and/or statutory law, as amended if necessary. Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution. As Justice Warren wrote in U.S. v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258 (1967): Implicit in the term 'national defense' is the notion of defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart. . . . It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction the subversion of . . . those liberties ....Id. at 264.
      IT IS SO ORDERED.
      ANNA DIGGS TAYLOR
      UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE"
  • by OakDragon (885217) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @02:23PM (#15928457) Journal

    ... but I will not let my fear of losing karma stifle my right to free expression.

    I for one believe this particular program is good, necessary, and in line with the Constitution, so it's not a matter of "security vs. freedom" for me. This ruling is just the start of a legal battle that will likely go to the Supreme Court.

    I for one do not want to see the program go. We have foiled terroist attacks and cells within the US for 5 years now. How much is due to things like this NSA program, I don't know.

    • by gilroy (155262) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @03:50PM (#15929292) Homepage Journal
      Blockquoth the poster:

      I for one believe this particular program is good, necessary, and in line with the Constitution, so it's not a matter of "security vs. freedom" for me.

      Unfortunately, you are simply wrong. The NSA is not doing anything that it couldn't do legally. All that is required is getting a FISA judge to issue a warrant. Since the institution of the FISA court in 1979, the government has requested more than 10,000 warrants. It has been denied four times.

      But wait! Today's terrorist moves fast. Maybe there isn't time to speak to a judge! Bzzzt. But thanks for playing. The FISA judges hold court in the oddest of places -- such as the chief judge's living room at 3 AM -- so that they can be responsive and quick. And even then, the law (as amended) allows the government to conduct an emergency wiretap so long as it gets a (retroactive) warrant within 72 hours. So no nasty terrorist plots can slip through waiting on that burdensome due process.

      Should the government be allowed to wiretap suspected terrorists? Of course. Not a single major player has ever said otherwise. But that's the question the Bush people want you to focus on, so that you don't notice the real question: Should the President of the United States be bound by the Constitution and the laws passed under it? And this Administration's clear, stark answer is: NO. The President should be entirely unconstrained.

      That is why this Administration is the greatest threat to the Republic since the Civil War.
  • by plopez (54068) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @03:14PM (#15928957) Journal
    "Now let's see them enforce it." (In regards to the Cherokee genocide the supreme court ruled against in the 1800's)

    And there is still an appeal possible. Anyone want to bet which way a 5-4 supreme court split would go? And which side Alito would vote on?
  • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @03:28PM (#15929093) Journal
    Judge Taylor says ...violates the rights to free speech and privacy

    Searching the consitution... [usconstitution.net]

    Free Speech - Check.
    Privacy... searching... hmmm.

    <tinfoil_hat> Just wait - when a supreme court rules you don't have privacy, what other famous cases based on privacy will fall? </tinfoil_hat>

    BTW - here is a reasoned argument on why there is such a right [harrybrowne.org].

    • by dlapine (131282) <dlapine@ncsa.uiuc . e du> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @04:20PM (#15929580) Homepage
      It's pretty simple- the constitution reserves all rights to the people or States, save those which are carefully delegated to the federal government. Amendment X specifically states this:
      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
      The bill of rights is not an exhaustive list- it's just a of rights which the founders thought were worth mentioning specifically. You have a right to privacy by default- at least, a right that the federal government may not abridge.
  • Give me liberty... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jagasian (129329) on Thursday August 17, 2006 @03:47PM (#15929256)
    Anybody who argues that, due to terrorism, our country should compromise its most important ideals, is a person that appeases terrorists with their fear.
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @03:50PM (#15929286) Homepage Journal
    Problem: Defend our society from those hell bent on destroying it
    Constraint: Do this without turning our society into something not worth defending.

    I'm not sure how you do this. It's an ugly problem with a delicate balance. I'd argue that circumventing process when such process is sufficiently lenient to get the job done for domestic-only wiretapping is inexcusable. I'd also argue that holding people without charges is one of the reasons we were in such a hurry to dump colonial rule.

    Can we save America while keeping it a place worth saving? (assuming you beleive it still is, which is up for debate in certain circles..)

    In our society worth saving, we allegedly support religious freedom and tolernace. We try to avoid things like "racial profiling" or juding any individual based on a group affiliation. And we know the logical / mathematical rules about correlation vs. causation, and necessary vs sufficient and that the balance of favor must be given to assuming innocence.

    At the same time, it seems very enticing to say things like "let's target brown-skinned muslims trying to board aircraft for extra security". It is undeniable that the set of "terrorists" is almost entirely contained in the intersection of "dark skinned" and "muslim". Even so, if we build a society that lets us act on that info and that info alone, tomorrow someone will decide that the set "serial killers" will fit into the sets "white" and "male".

    I do beleive "we" have a real enemy - and that enemy is Islamofacism. I don't think there is any room in this country for people that want Sharia Law or want to change the laws of the US to fit their religion (that applies to Christians too - of which I count myself a member, and i'd be willing to concede that too many judeo-christian influences have been grandfathered into modern America ) - our law attempts to treat all as equals and _allegedly_ puts no religion over any other. If you don't want to play that way - fine, there are other countries for you.

    However, the nature of this "enemy" and the antics of our government are setting off too many alarms in my head about how governments manipulate with fear for their own purposes. I don't want to be protected by a government that has so much power to eavesdrop and detain the people I don't like today that they can just as easily do it to me tomorrow when someone else decides they don't like me. Even if you beleive that the govt is trying to act benignly (I think they generally are - i think they beleive they're doing the right thing), the problem is building the machine that gives them this much power to begin with. even if they are acting in our best interests, the next crop of people or the set after them wont be, and by then it will be too late.

    What the founding fathers understood is that to limit government tyrany, you limited government, not who could participate.

I'd rather be led to hell than managed to heavan.

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