Tuesday, December 17, 2013

One Federal Jurist Finally Gets It

Trey Smith

A federal judge on Monday concluded that a National Security Agency program that collects massive amounts of telephone data “likely” violates the Constitution, propelling a high-stakes fight right toward the Supreme Court.

In an extraordinary 68-page decision, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon of Washington ordered the NSA to stop snooping on two specific individuals who had challenged the so-called “bulk telephony metadata” collection program. While Leon then put a stay on his own order, pending a government appeal, his skepticism about the program’s constitutional validity came through loud and clear.

“I believe that bulk telephony metadata collection almost certainly does violate a reasonable expectation of privacy,” Leon wrote, taking note of the “almost Orwellian technology that enables the government to store and analyze the phone metadata of every telephone user in the United States.”

Appointed to the federal bench by President George W. Bush in 2002, Leon further cautioned that the 21st century surveillance technologies may have outstripped the decades-old legal precedents being used to justify them. The only way to resolve the dilemma spelled out in Leon’s decision is for the Supreme Court to revisit the issues once the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit takes a crack at it.
~ from NSA Telephone Spying "Likely" Illegal, Judge Says by Michael Doyle and Ali Watkins ~
In this day and age, it almost is surprising to see that a federal judge finally gets it. This bulk collection of almost ALL phone data on the potentially guilty and innocent alike is obviously far over the legal line. It treats those suspected of no wrongdoing like criminals which is something the founding fathers sought to thwart. I mean, why enumerate specific rights of citizens that government is supposed to not breach?

It's even more amazing that the judge who finally got it was appointed by a Republican President, not a Democratic one. If a conservative jurist is alarmed, this only shows that this program has crossed far, far over the line...or maybe Judge Leon is just some crackpot. Maybe the rest of our vaunted judicial system will give the Obama administration what they want: the ability to abrogate the US Constitution whenever they feel like it!

Wouldn't that be a glorious day!

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