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Federal District Ct. Issues Injunction in NSA Case


A federal district court judge in Detroit has issued an injunction, halting the NSA domestic spying program unless and until the Bush Administration follows the nation’s laws and obtains FISA warrants as every other Administration has done since the 1970s, and calling this end-run of the nation’s laws unconstitutional in very straightforward language. 

According to the WaPo:

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor wrote in a strongly-worded 43-page opinion that the NSA wiretapping program violates privacy and free-speech rights and the constitutional separation of powers between the three branches of government. She also found that it violates a 1978 law set up to oversee clandestine surveillance.

Ruling in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups, Taylor, 73, wrote that "public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of the Constitution. . . . "

"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," she wrote. " . . . There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all ‘inherent powers’ must derive from that Constitution."

It’s Thursday, and the peanut is home with me today, so I haven’t had an opportunity to go through the whole case as yet, but Glenn has some great analysis up already, and it is well worth the read.

The ACLU has the full opinion here.  And they also have a good summary of the case history here.  I hope to have more on this ruling as I can get time to thoroughly read and digest it.  Please link up any good analysis you see on the case here in the comments for everyone else to peruse. 

Sen. Russ Feingold’s office sent along this statement regarding the ruling:

"Today’s district court ruling is a strong rebuke of this administration’s illegal wiretapping program. The President must return to the Constitution and follow the statutes passed by Congress. We all want our government to monitor suspected terrorists, but there is no reason for it to break the law to do so. The administration went too far with the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Today’s federal court decision is an important step toward checking the President’s power grab."

Clear, to the point, unambiguous — have to love that in an elected official, don’t you?

This is going to get interesting.  As Glenn points out, this is now the second federal court to reject the "state secrets" claims of the Bush Administration — looks like someone’s crown may be getting a bit tarnished.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com