Judge strikes down part of Patriot Act
By LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 6, 7:21 PM ET
NEW YORK - A federal judge struck down a key part of the USA Patriot Act on Thursday in a ruling that defended the need for judicial oversight of laws and bashed Congress for passing a law that makes possible "far-reaching invasions of liberty."
U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero immediately stayed the effect of his ruling, allowing the government time to appeal. Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said: "We are reviewing the decision and considering our options at this time."
The ruling handed the American Civil Liberties Union a major victory in its challenge of the post-Sept. 11 law that gave broader investigative powers to law enforcement.
The ACLU had challenged the law on behalf of an Internet service provider, complaining that the law allowed the FBI to demand records without the kind of court supervision required for other government searches. Under the law, investigators can issue so-called national security letters to entities like Internet service providers and phone companies and demand customers' phone and Internet records.
In his ruling, Marrero said much more was at stake than questions about the national security letters.
He said Congress, in the original USA Patriot Act and less so in a 2005 revision, had essentially tried to legislate how the judiciary must review challenges to the law. If done to other bills, they ultimately could all "be styled to make the validation of the law foolproof."
Noting that the courthouse where he resides is several blocks from the fallen World Trade Center, the judge said the Constitution was designed so that the dangers of any given moment could never justify discarding fundamental individual liberties.
He said when "the judiciary lowers its guard on the Constitution, it opens the door to far-reaching invasions of liberty."
Regarding the national security letters, he said, Congress crossed its boundaries so dramatically that to let the law stand might turn an innocent legislative step into "the legislative equivalent of breaking and entering, with an ominous free pass to the hijacking of constitutional values."
He said the ruling does not mean the FBI must obtain the approval of a court prior to ordering records be turned over, but rather must justify to a court the need for secrecy if the orders will last longer than a reasonable and brief period of time.
A March government report showed that the FBI issued about 8,500 national security letter, or NSL, requests in 2000, the year prior to passage of the USA Patriot Act. By 2003, the number of requests had risen to 39,000 and to 56,000 in 2004 before falling to 47,000 in 2005. The overwhelming majority of the requests sought telephone billing records information, telephone or e-mail subscriber information or electronic communication transactional records.
The judge said that through the NSLs, the government can unmask the identity of Internet users engaged in anonymous speech in online discussions, can obtain an itemized list of all e-mails sent and received by someone and can then seek information on those communicating with the individual.
"It may even be able to discover the web sites an individual has visited and queries submitted to search engines," the judge said.
Marrero's lengthy judicial opinion, akin to an eighth-grade civics lesson, described why the framers of the Constitution created three separate but equal branches of government and delegated to the judiciary to say what the law is and to protect the Constitution and the rights it gives citizens.
Marrero said the constitutional barriers against governmental abuse "may eventually collapse, with consequential diminution of the judiciary's function, and hence potential dire effects to individual freedoms."
In that event, he said, the judiciary could become "a mere mouthpiece of the legislature."
Marrero had ruled in 2004, on the initial version of the Patriot Act, that the letters violate the Constitution because they amounted to unreasonable search and seizure. He found free-speech violations in the nondisclosure requirement, which for example, disallowed an Internet service provider from telling customers their records were being turned over to the government.
After he ruled, Congress revised the Patriot Act in 2005, and the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals directed that Marrero review the law's constitutionality a second time.
Last edited by BlueAngel : 04-10-2015 at 04:40 PM.
Some of the framer's of the constitution, our founding father's who drafted and wrote the Constitution were Freemasons.
So, to say that they were herding the sheeple into a false belief that we have power might be appropriate.
We the people, have NO POWER, and, therefore, elect as best we can, those persons whom we entrust to protect our liberties.
Non-sense, We the people do have power, albeit outside of federal jurisdictions, for example, let's say your somehow charged with treason against the governemnt, because you wrote alot of Anti-Bush Anti-War material, you would have a right to a trial by jury, therefore if one of your fellow citizens sees the utter insanity of the law put against you, and they vote you innocent of all charges, then it was as if the law never existed in the first place. Case Closed as they say. The problem is finding people with knowledge of the Constitution, and how it protects citizens against government, I dare say the American Bar Association can't help you there. Talk about a bunch of perverted Masons in charge there.
You sound like the typical "conspiracy theorist" always afraid to take responsibility for your country, always blame the "PTB'S."
This country is so easily manipulated, it's down right insane, so if 'they' ask you to accept there MARK, everything will be OK, will you accept?
So calling your Congressperson or E-mailing this website or other conspiracy sites with info on the "secret-government" has no effect you think?
Believe me they monitor all conspiracy sites.
Actually, it does, however it will never be known outside certain circles, FYI there are alot of good people in Congress, although your led to believe that there all crooks,this is what they want you to think.
Did not JFK, (and I think JFK was probably in on the conspiracy, however some people do change.) say this, ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY CAN DO FOR YOU, BUT, WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY.
Otherwise we should all march lock-step into the death camps.
2 Patriot Act Provisions ruled unlawful
By WILLIAM McCALL, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 5 minutes ago
PORTLAND, Ore. - Two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without a showing of probable cause, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, "now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment."
Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield sought the ruling in a lawsuit against the federal government after he was mistakenly linked by the FBI to the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people in 2004.
The federal government apologized and settled part of the lawsuit for $2 million after admitting a fingerprint was misread. But as part of the settlement, Mayfield retained the right to challenge parts of the Patriot Act.
Mayfield claimed that secret searches of his house and office under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act violated the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. Aiken agreed with Mayfield, repeatedly criticizing the government.
"For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law ó with unparalleled success. A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised," she wrote.
By asking her to dismiss Mayfield's lawsuit, the judge said, the U.S. attorney general's office was "asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. This court declines to do so."
Elden Rosenthal, an attorney for Mayfield, issued a statement on his behalf praising the judge, saying she "has upheld both the tradition of judicial independence, and our nation's most cherished principle of the right to be secure in one's own home."
The Patriot Act greatly expanded the authority of law enforcers to investigate suspected acts of terrorism, both domestically and abroad.