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Court Rejects ACLU Challenge to Wiretaps


Sarge

Is spying on Americans necessary in the war on terror?  

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  1. 1. Is spying on Americans necessary in the war on terror?



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Oh darn!

Back to the suiing board

http://breakingnews.nypost.com/dynamic/stories/S/SCOTUS_DOMESTIC_SPYING?SITE=NYNYP&SECTION=HOME

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to civil rights and privacy advocates who oppose the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program. The justices, without comment, turned down an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union to let it pursue a lawsuit against the program that began shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

The action underscored the difficulty of mounting a challenge to the eavesdropping, which remains classified and was confirmed by President Bush only after a newspaper article revealed its existence.

"It's very disturbing that the president's actions will go unremarked upon by the court," said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU's national security project. "In our view, it shouldn't be left to executive branch officials alone to determine the limits."

The Terrorist Surveillance Program no longer exists, although the administration has maintained it was legal.

The ACLU sued on behalf of itself, other lawyers, reporters and scholars, arguing that the program was illegal and that they had been forced to alter how they communicate with foreigners who were likely to have been targets of the wiretapping.

A federal judge in Detroit largely agreed, but the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the suit, saying the plaintiffs could not prove their communications had been monitored and thus could not prove they had been harmed by the program.

The government has refused to turn over information about the closely guarded program that could reveal who has been under surveillance.

ACLU officials described the situation as a "Catch-22" because the government says the identities of people whose communications have been intercepted is secret. But only people who know they have been wiretapped can sue over the program.

A lawsuit filed by an Islamic charity met a similar fate. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year ruled against the Oregon-based U.S. arm of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, concluding that a key piece of evidence is protected as a state secret.

In that case, the charity alleged the National Security Agency illegally listened to its calls. The charity had wanted to introduce as evidence a top-secret call log it received mistakenly from the Treasury Department.

A separate lawsuit against telecommunications companies that have cooperated with the government is pending in the San Francisco-based appeals court. A U.S. district court also is examining whether the warrantless surveillance of people in the United States violates the law that regulates the wiretapping of suspected terrorists and requires the approval of a secret court.

The administration announced in January 2007 that it would put intercepts of communications on U.S. soil under the oversight of that court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The ACLU, in urging the justices to consider its case, said that because the administration voluntarily ended the warrantless wiretapping, it could easily restart it.

The administration acknowledged the existence of the program in late 2005, after the New York Times published an article about it.

The White House said the monitoring was necessary because the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act left dangerous gaps in the government's eavesdropping authority.

Last August, Congress made temporary changes to FISA that made the warrantless wiretapping legal in some instances and also extended immunity from lawsuits to telecommunications companies that help with the intercepts.

Those changes expired over the weekend, amid disagreements between congressional Democrats and President Bush over the immunity issue.

Existing wiretaps can continue and any new surveillance the government wants to institute has to follow the FISA rules, which could require court warrants.

The case is ACLU v. NSA, 07-468.

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This is actually probably the correct decision as the plaintiffs don't have standing.

However' date=' it does raise the question, how will we ever know if evidence was garnered via warantless wiretapping?[/quote']

The beauty of checks and balances.
'Cause Congress has been doing so well.

:cuss: SCOTUS, :cuss: Bush, and :cuss: all the others who hate America. I guess they can't hate us for our freedoms if we don't have any. Nice to see Bush and co. surrendering to al-Qaeda :doh:

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'Cause Congress has been doing so well.

:cuss: SCOTUS, :cuss: Bush, and :cuss: all the others who hate America. I guess they can't hate us for our freedoms if we don't have any. Nice to see Bush and co. surrendering to al-Qaeda :doh:

You are insane if you think you can sue the Government.

Government contractors be warned. What are you really going to do if the US Government doesn't pay you. Really, what will you do. Not a damn thing.

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'Cause Congress has been doing so well.

:cuss: SCOTUS, :cuss: Bush, and :cuss: all the others who hate America. I guess they can't hate us for our freedoms if we don't have any. Nice to see Bush and co. surrendering to al-Qaeda :doh:

Thats right. you clearly don't have the freedom of speech. I mean, it is obvious that you can't say what you want because the NSA is monitoring your wires without a warrant.

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All the court has to do is make a ruling. Seriously, how hard is it to see if violates the 4th?

The court can't make a ruling without a case.

There can't be a case without standing.

You want them to rule on a hypothetical. Unfortunately, that's not how the system works.

I generally agree with the ACLU, but this time the loss was appropriate.

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Net result: The President can violate the Constitution, as long as he classifies the evidence, and the Supreme Court won't even tell him not to do it again.

Exactly.

I don't understand why/how this is allowed to fly under the radar screen.

I'm not sure if this is the same suit, but one of the suits brought by the ACLU alleged that AT&T was going to setup a command center for the feds, in order to allow the to compile a database of the call history of EVERY American. But apparently no one understands the ramifications, or they just flat don't care. Either way, kind of a sad statement on where we are as a nation.

Larry, do you think it's because of the election season that the dems in congress aren't pursuing this aggressively? Or is it something else? I'm not trying to start a fight here, we're on the same side of this. I just truly don't understand why they're not taking action against what I view as a legitimate Constitutional crisis.

I wish they would impeach based on NSA and the mail-opening signing statement. But I guess they figure it could backfire and unify the repubs, much like Clinton's impeachement did for dems. But who knows. Maybe it's something else.

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I wish they would impeach based on NSA and the mail-opening signing statement. But I guess they figure it could backfire and unify the repubs, much like Clinton's impeachement did for dems. But who knows. Maybe it's something else.

I fully believe that it's about political cowardice on the Dem's part. They're more worried about power than doing the right thing. That's why they haven't really pushed hard on legislation or really stood up to the President also. I hope we can reach a stage where doing the work of the country is more important than political gamesmanship.

I also have realized in recent years that the Supreme Court has become more and more a politically-biased entity. Maybe it always was, but I used to believe in its objectivity. Now, I think it is just a tool of whichever wing gets to stack the most judges and that the Supreme Court decides cases on a based on political ideology versus law. It rots that you know how they'll vote in most cases before the case is heard and that they rarely seem to judge an issue on the merits of the case, but decide almost exclusively on the basis of pre-defined political ideologies.

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Larry, do you think it's because of the election season that the dems in congress aren't pursuing this aggressively? Or is it something else? I'm not trying to start a fight here, we're on the same side of this. I just truly don't understand why they're not taking action against what I view as a legitimate Constitutional crisis.

I think the main reasons Congress isn't doing squat is:

1) They aren't sure which side will get the most votes. The vast majority of the voters (at least, based on the comments I see here) have bought the lie that it's only used to eavesdrop on known terrorists. (I've never gotten an answer to the question: If Abdhul bin Bombin is a known terrorist, then why not get a warrant?)

None of them seem intellectually capable of noticing that, if a target is a known terrorist (or even a suspected terrorist), then there's no reason not to get a warrant, and to therefore conclude that the only possible reason for not getting a warrant is that the target isn't a known (or even suspected) terrorist.

2) What good would passing a law do? (Even is you make the leap of faith and assume that this Congress is capable of passing any legislation whatsoever.)

The original program was created without any Congressional authorization whatsoever, so I have trouble believing that some piece of legislation is going to prevent it from rising again. (Especially now that the SC has ruled that it's impossible for the courts to exercise any oversight whatsoever over a classified program.)

If Congress does prohibit it, some President will simply ignore it. Especially now that it's been proven that there's no penalty for ignoring it.

I wish they would impeach based on NSA and the mail-opening signing statement. But I guess they figure it could backfire and unify the repubs, much like Clinton's impeachement did for dems. But who knows. Maybe it's something else.

Like I said, Congress isn't going to do squat unless the voters demand it. And way to many voters are drinking the Kool Aid.

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I fully believe that it's about political cowardice on the Dem's part. They're more worried about power than doing the right thing. That's why they haven't really pushed hard on legislation or really stood up to the President also. I hope we can reach a stage where doing the work of the country is more important than political gamesmanship.

Amen. On BOTH sides. :applause:

I also have realized in recent years that the Supreme Court has become more and more a politically-biased entity. Maybe it always was, but I used to believe in its objectivity. Now, I think it is just a tool of whichever wing gets to stack the most judges and that the Supreme Court decides cases on a based on political ideology versus law. It rots that you know how they'll vote in most cases before the case is heard and that they rarely seem to judge an issue on the merits of the case, but decide almost exclusively on the basis of pre-defined political ideologies.

I'm kinda torn here. Obviously, I'm a social conservative, so I don't mind having a more right-leaning court in most cases. However, this is one of those cases that I DO mind. It seems as though the president is running amok, unchecked by anyone; and that's never a good thing.

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I also have realized in recent years that the Supreme Court has become more and more a politically-biased entity. Maybe it always was, but I used to believe in its objectivity. Now, I think it is just a tool of whichever wing gets to stack the most judges and that the Supreme Court decides cases on a based on political ideology versus law. It rots that you know how they'll vote in most cases before the case is heard and that they rarely seem to judge an issue on the merits of the case, but decide almost exclusively on the basis of pre-defined political ideologies.

My theory is that the reason that's true is that, at least since Roe, the career path to get to the Supreme Court is for a candidate, way back in college, to align himself with one party or the other. Once that decision is made, then the candidate must never, ever, say anything in public which even hints of a political affiliation, but must regularly assure the party insiders of their lifelong allegiance.

I think one example of this was the appointment of Harriet Meyers. Bush appoints someone who's sole qualification is political loyalty, and he's actually puzzled when the Party isn't enthusiastic. (And when they aren't enthusiastic, his response is to announce that "Trust me, folks. I know how she stands on Roe.")

For several decades, the ideal SC candidate is a political partisan who's successfully lied about his partisanship except when he's in a secured room. (On both sides.)

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I fully believe that it's about political cowardice on the Dem's part. They're more worried about power than doing the right thing. That's why they haven't really pushed hard on legislation or really stood up to the President also. I hope we can reach a stage where doing the work of the country is more important than political gamesmanship.

And yet Bush is doing the work of the country,all the while getting roasted in public....no respect.

I also have realized in recent years that the Supreme Court has become more and more a politically-biased entity. Maybe it always was, but I used to believe in its objectivity. Now, I think it is just a tool of whichever wing gets to stack the most judges and that the Supreme Court decides cases on a based on political ideology versus law. It rots that you know how they'll vote in most cases before the case is heard and that they rarely seem to judge an issue on the merits of the case, but decide almost exclusively on the basis of pre-defined political ideologies.

Strange you only noticed it once the court shifted and probably never even noticed the court making law in defiance of the constitution before.

How many are even upset at the district court for a lousy ruling that was beyond partisan in nature and not supported by sound reasoning?...I tried to warn ya

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I'm kinda torn here. Obviously, I'm a social conservative, so I don't mind having a more right-leaning court in most cases. However, this is one of those cases that I DO mind. It seems as though the president is running amok, unchecked by anyone; and that's never a good thing.

I can understand that. And I actually don't mind if a Supreme Court Justice votes their conscience, however, the idealist in me wishes that they would try to put aside their biases and listen to the case, refer to the law, and then let the Constitution guide them and then if need be... lastly let their personal inclinations be a factor. It feels like too often a case is decided before the case is even argued. I think that speaks poorly to the ideal of Justice being blind.

But you are correct that I probably am noticing it more because Bush has stacked the Justices to the right (although, I first really noticed it in the 2000 election. Where judges who needed to recuse themselves didn't and they broke their pattern with their rulings in overriding the state. But we really, really don't need to go into 2000 again. Both sides acted poorly and there was enough weirdness going on with both parties that we probably never will know who cheated more [darn those hanging chad butterflies :laugh:])

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