Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 16th Dec 2013 23:15 UTC
Legal

A federal judge in Washington ruled on Monday that the bulk collection of Americans' telephone records by the National Security Agency is likely to violate the US constitution, in the most significant legal setback for the agency since the first disclosures prompted by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Judge Richard Leon declared that the mass collection of metadata probably violates the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and was "almost Orwellian" in its scope. In a judgment replete with literary swipes against the NSA, he said James Madison, the architect of the US constitution, would be "aghast" at the scope of the agency’s collection of Americans' communications data.

It's just a preliminary ruling, and while the judge stated that he would most likely uphold the preliminary ruling after the merits of the case have been handled, there's probably thousands of appeals and stuff like that where this could crumble into dust.

Once a government has obtained a power, it rarely releases it. That's the nature of government - it can only grow.

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Comment by Drumhellar
by Drumhellar on Tue 17th Dec 2013 02:53 UTC
Drumhellar
Member since:
2005-07-12

It's just a preliminary ruling, and while the judge stated that he would most likely uphold the preliminary ruling after the merits of the case have been handled, there's probably thousands of appeals and stuff like that where this could crumble into dust.


Federal Courts, thankfully, don't offer huge amounts of opportunities to appeal.

Since this is a Federal Circuit court, the appeal would go to the Circuit court of Appeals, where all issues must be appealed at once. From there it goes to the US Court of Appeals, where, again, all issues must be appealed at once. From there, it's the US Supreme Court, but only if the Supreme Court wishes to hear the case, which requires a minimum of 3 Supreme Court Justices to vote in favor of hearing the case.

Granted, each of these appeals can take a significant amount of time - it could be a couple of years before SCOUTS hears it.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by Alfman on Tue 17th Dec 2013 05:03 in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Drumhellar,

I agree that having the NSA's actions officially reprimanded by a federal court is encouraging. Never the less it seems more of a symbolic victory than anything if the NSA's senior directors are not held accountable for treason against the people and if funding of the nefarious & secretive programs continues unabated.

It's critical we fight for our constitutional rights tooth and nail because it's all we really have in fighting oppressive government tendencies, otherwise it just becomes a glorified piece of paper symbolizing all the rights we've lost.

Reply Parent Score: 5