A federal judge ruled today that the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional and ordered that it end immediately.
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 as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.
“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.
I wonder how much taxpayers’ money has been spent so far defending this program. Pretty much any lay person who got an A in civics class could have told Bush and his buddies at the NSA that it was unconstitutional, and it wouldn’t have cost a penny.
The U.S. Justice Department appealed the ruling and issued a statement saying the program is “an essential tool for the intelligence community in the war on terror.”
“In the ongoing conflict with al-Qaida and its allies, the president has the primary duty under the Constitution to protect the American people,” the department said. “The Constitution gives the president the full authority necessary to carry out that solemn duty, and we believe the program is lawful and protects civil liberties.”
Protects whose civil liberties? Certainly not those whose lives are dissected without their knowledge. Not those who have no recourse even if they find out that their privacy has been invaded. Not those who are subject to the whims of an executive branch that accepts no oversight or accountability. If the Bush administration prevails in this fight, we’ll be one giant step closer to becoming just like those we’re supposed to be fighting.
Wheeler, who is an attorney and would have to charge W for his expertise, has commentary on the case at Alablawg.