Judge rules warrantless wiretapping illegal, orders immediate halt.

Holy shit! Didn’t expect to see this news item actually come to pass, and out of Detroit no less. Details are scarce at the moment, but expect a whole lot more info as the day goes on:

DETROIT – A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government’s warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

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.

“Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution,” Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion.

Loud whining about “activist judges” to begin in 5… 4… 3… 2…

Update: Ed Brayton takes a close look at the ruling on his blog and it’s rather impressive. He doesn’t think it’ll stand on appeal, but it should.

But here’s the problem: it makes the administration’s unconstitutional actions immune from judicial review completely. It’s a perfect mobius strip of logic: we can’t tell you who is surveilled under the law because of the state secrets privilege, and if you don’t know who is surveilled you can’t prove you have standing. That means there is simply no check at all on executive power, something that constitution clearly did not intend.

Go read his full analysis. It’s good stuff.

Update II: Glen Greenwald has more on the ruling including some of the ridiculous reactions to it by various conservatives so far:

So, so far we have – (1) the Judge was appointed by Jimmy Carter; (2) the Judge is African-American and works on “civil rights” matters; (3) she is insane; (4) she does not take terrorism seriously; (5) this is a victory for the terrorist; (6) President Bush should defy the Order. That’s a predictable enough beginning, but the smear machine is going to have to work a little harder, because that is not all that impressive of an attack so far. I recommend the Free Press profile—read that and decide if her abilities and fairness can be legitimately demonized.

****

More pro-Bush reaction is compiled here, including this from Jawa Report (“lets hope the first bomb that comes here is dropped on this judges head”) and this from Debbie Schussel (“She seems to hate America and fairness almost as much as the Plaintiffs do”). And some nice race-based smearing can be found by Gateway Pundit here (her husband was a Congressman whose “district included downtown Detroit and some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. He was the first chairman of the Congressional black Caucus”). That’s really relevant.

About what you’d expect from a lot of those people.

14 thoughts on “Judge rules warrantless wiretapping illegal, orders immediate halt.

  1. Interesting.
    I went ‘here & this & this and here’.
    Wow. Those GOPslaves are a bit wacky, A?
    Somehow I got to this bumper sticker site.
    Is Condi really running in 2008?
    Can someone explain how the Republican Party got the colour Red?
    How come it didn’t excite the anti-commies?
    Shouldn’t the Democrats have been labelled Reds? smile
    And just one more … the GOPs’ icon is that fat fucking Elephant. What’s the Demo’s icon?

  2. Should it make it to the Supreme Court, look for the court to kick the ruling on the grounds that the plaintiffs lack standing.  It sidesteps the constintuional issues, but I can’t see how the plaintiffs here can show actual harm. 

    The judge’s finding that plaintiffs have standing because they think that they might be eavesdropped on, with no showing that they have been, is simple unsustainable.  There is no prior case law regarding standing that uses a subjective standard for actual harm, as was used here.  The standard is actual harm.  Plaintiffs have to show they have suffered actual harm, not imagined harm.  There is no record of any evidence that they suffered actual harm that I am aware of at this time. Hence, there is no standing.

  3. Plaintiffs have to show they have suffered actual harm, not imagined harm.  There is no record of any evidence that they suffered actual harm that I am aware of at this time. Hence, there is no standing.

    Change ‘plaintiffs’ into ‘the US administration’.

    And ‘that they suffered actual harm’ into ‘that they suffered actual harm from any of the overwhelming majority of those they spy on’.

    Your comment now perfectly encapsulates Bush’s behaviour and why it should not be allowed.

  4. Wow. Those GOPslaves are a bit wacky, A?

    A bit indeed. The thing that always amuses me is that every now and then I get an email critical of me for being mean and unfair in some of what I write, but I’ve got nothing on the average Republican/Conservative pundit out there. Every time I think I might be crossing the line I just go visit a few Conservative websites and I realize I’m not even within striking distance of the line.

    Consi writes…

    The judge’s finding that plaintiffs have standing because they think that they might be eavesdropped on, with no showing that they have been, is simple unsustainable.  There is no prior case law regarding standing that uses a subjective standard for actual harm, as was used here.  The standard is actual harm.  Plaintiffs have to show they have suffered actual harm, not imagined harm.  There is no record of any evidence that they suffered actual harm that I am aware of at this time. Hence, there is no standing.

    Of course the problem with that whole approach, as noted by the judge, is the fact that the defendants are prevented from showing direct harm by the States Secrets act. They’re not allowed to find out if the government has wiretapped them or not, but the possibility that they have been isn’t at all an unreasonable assumption given their circumstances.

    The Bush Administration is essentially trying to use the State Secrets act as a means of removing anything it does from Judicial oversight and the judge is quite correct that this was not a situation that was ever supposed to be allowed in the first place.

  5. From Wikipedia:

    The most common symbol for the party is the donkey. In its original form, the jackass was born in the intense mudslinging that occurred during the presidential race of 1828 as a play on the name of President Andrew Jackson, the Democratic candidate. Jackson had been called “Andrew Jackass,” and the defiant Jackson adopted the nickname.

    and the Republican Elephant:

    The common symbol of the Republican party is the elephant. A political cartoon by Thomas Nast, published in Harper’s Weekly on 7 November 1874, is considered the first important use of the symbol. In the early 20th century, the usual symbol of the Republican Party in Midwestern states such as Indiana and Ohio was the eagle, as opposed to the Democratic donkey. This symbol still appears on Indiana ballots.

  6. Thankyou very much for all the info, Les.
    Hopefully I’ll remember it at the right time one day and shine. smile

  7. The standard is actual harm.  Plaintiffs have to show they have suffered actual harm, not imagined harm.  There is no record of any evidence that they suffered actual harm that I am aware of at this time.

    Shame you weren’t around when when the christian whitehouse used this same argument to invade Iraq.

  8. What really sucks is the way this story is being reported by the main stream media. I’m sitting in the Dr’s office waiting room yeasterday and CNN is on the public boob tube. How do they break this oh so important story? “A severe blow to the President’s war on terrorisim.” Not, “A shining victory for the nations civil liberties.” This is why all news is now blocked on my TV. If they aren’t out and out lying, they’re misleading through selective statements.

  9. The news has never, ever, ever been unbiased.  Back in the old days, newspapers always had a political slant that they pushed, and even during the mid to late twentieth century all news sources have had at least a little bias. 

    Nowdays though, it’s just becoming way more glaringly obvious again as the news outlets are consolidated by big business.  I think we got a l little spoiled since they did for awhile there sort of hold to a standard of objectivity (at least some news sources did).  They’re not all as bad as Fox “We Decide, you Listen” News, but I think the money that runs every news outlet nowdays has some kind of political bias that filters down to what they push out to us.

  10. Absolutely. I saw the present situation coming whenb the Republicans gutted the FCC Act during the Reagan years. It was obvious then that the richest would buy up all of the media outlets and the tone of the media would change to their rhetoric. And, by and large, if you are rich in America, you are most likely conservative. I’ve watched all of my local affiliates being bought up by one man/company. Now, the news is purely conservative on all three local networks, all newspapers, and all radio stations. Heck, Fox and NBC just show the same newscast for Pete’s sake! Other’s saw this coming when the Reagan administration went after the FCC Act, but it still happened. I fear this is the fate of reasonable people these days. They just aren’t heard over the hate mongering and bible thumping.

  11. Inasmuch as the constitution is undermined, all Americans are harmed.  The decision was not against the wiretapping, it was against the administration defying any limits to its power.

    While predicting the ruling will be overturned, Ed Brayton says of the ‘standing’ issue:

    here’s the problem: it makes the administration’s unconstitutional actions immune from judicial review completely.  It’s a perfect mobius strip of logic: we can’t tell you who is surveilled under the law because of the state secrets privilege, and if you don’t know who is surveilled you can’t prove you have standing. That means there is simply no check at all on executive power, something that constitution clearly did not intend…

    [Judge Taylor quote]

      Because of the very secrecy of the activity here challenged, Plaintiffs each must be and are given standing to challenge it, because each of them, is injured and chilled substantially in the exercise of First Amendment rights so long as it continues…

    It is absurd for the courts to say that no one could possibly have standing to challenge the unconstitutional actions of the executive branch. If no one has standing, then the executive branch has de facto unlimited and arbitrary authority to do anything it wants to anyone it wants as long as it invokes the state secrets privilege. I can’t imagine any prospect more obviously contrary to the intent of the Constitution, which was designed explicitly to prevent this kind of unimpeded power by any single branch of government.
    Dispatches

    Several bloggers have noted Taylor’s concluding use of a 1967 quote from Justice Warren:

    “Implicit in the term “national defense

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.