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Privacy 1, Bush 0

Friday, August 18, 2006

A small victory was had in the fight to retain our rights to free speech and privacy. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor struck down President Bush's warrantless surveillance program. You can read the article by clicking here. Of course, the Bush administration isn't going to take no for an answer. They've already announced that they intend to appeal the decision to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
The government claimed that the ruling removes a key tool for fighting terrorism that has already stopped attacks. The ACLU countered that argument by pointing out that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which set up a secret court to grant warrants for such surveillance, gave the government enough tools to monitor suspected terrorists. If we follow the government's reasoning, we could argue that a general nuking of the Middle East would also be an effective tool for fighting terrorists, but I don't see any sane persons arguing for that. There has to be limits to the reach of government, or they become no better than those they protect us from.
The Bush administration has argued that the NSA program is well within the president's authority but said proving that would require revealing state secrets. Here's the problem with that logic. What Judge Taylor has seen of the program has provided her with enough evidence to rule the program unconstitutional. How could the government reveal any additional information, i.e. states secrets, that would reverse that decision? If its unconstitutional now, it will still be unconstitutional no matter how much more information you try to pile on it.


Blogger Mark said...

You're right in saying that this is a "small victory". My bet is that the Appeals Courts will overturn Judge Taylor's decision overwhelmingly. The "national security" and "compelling interest" doctrines/excuses will be easily upheld. The State will approve its own surveillance program with, possibly, a few dissents.

10:37 AM  

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