Thursday, August 17, 2006

NSA Surveillance is Struck Down

This just in: A federal judge in Michigan has found that the NSA surveillance program is unconstitutional.

Some of the critical language from the decision (which I haven't read yet):

"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."
Furthermore, Judge "Taylor said the government's arguments in support of the program appeared to imply that Bush's role as commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces gave him "the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution itself."

This is, more or less, the argument I have been making in several places since the NSA program was revealed. Without express authorization from Congress, either in approval of the program itself or a formal declaration of war, presidential war powers do not inherently authorize such a program.

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