Judge Strikes 2 Patriot Act Provisions
A lawyer who was secretly monitored after being erroneously identified as a potential terrorist, went straight to the courts, asserting violation fo his fourth amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures. He argued that by secretly searching and bugging his home and office--actions that the government asserted were permissible under the Patriot Act--the FBI violated his constitutional rights.
U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken agreed in a ruling Wednesday. (Well, would you look at that? Yes, as long as it's not via secret surveillance.) She wrote:
''For over 200 years, this nation has adhered to the rule of law -- with unparalleled success. A shift to a nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised."
The judge said that the U.S. attorney general's office's request to dismiss the lawsuit was tantamout to ''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.''
Other notable quotables from the NYT article covering the case:
''They've been so aggressive in their assertions of statutory and constitutional authority that it has alienated courts,'' Epps said. ''Judges just don't trust them. The Bush administration has shot itself in the foot.''
Elden Rosenthal, an attorney for Mayfield, issued a statement on his behalf praising the judge, saying Aiken ''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 high irony of this is that, if the government had never heard of Brandon Mayfield, they would not have this ruling today,'' Greenberger said. ''They essentially got caught with their pants down.''
Read the full NYT article on this case here. This case comes on the tails of an ACLU case challenging the Patriot Act challenge on behalf of an internet service provider in New York.