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September 27, 2007

Well, Duh
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 02:45 AM *

Federal judge rules 2 Patriot Act provisions unconstitutional

Two down, and the whole rest of ‘em to go.

The entire USA PATRIOT Act is unconstitutional on its face. Nevertheless, we applaud the courageous judge who struck down two of its provisions while at the same time mourning that a judge would have to be courageous to do so.

The case arose from the Madrid train bombings of a few years back. The FBI, misinterpreting some partial fingerprint evidence, secretly searched and wiretapped an American citizen, a lawyer, mostly because he is a Muslim. He was falsely accused, arrested … and he sued.

He won.

“In place of the Fourth Amendment, the people are expected to defer to the executive branch and its representation that it will authorize such surveillance only when appropriate.”

The government “is asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. The court declines to do so,” [Judge] Aiken said.

There may yet be hope.

Comments on Well, Duh:
#1 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 03:39 AM:

Whoa, am I first?

While it's still somewhat premature, the end of MLK's "I Have a Dream" speech keeps running thru my head.

"Thank God Almighty, we're free at last."

#2 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 03:52 AM:

The link is toast. You have two http:// elements.

(Yes, I can manually edit, but are you trying to make me, like work for this information? You're probably gonna make me think next*.)

-----
* Don't do it. Thinking leads to musing. Musing leads to muses. Muses lead to poetry.

#3 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:05 AM:

... until the Bushies on the Supreme Court say otherwise.

#4 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 04:12 AM:

Here's a workable link.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:54 AM:

Abi @ 2... Thinking leads to musing. Musing leads to muses.

You rang?

That being said, it's a relief that someone has courage somewhere in the govt since my Party has no guts or spine. ("Captain... This creature has no guts and no spine. It's Life, but not as we know it.")

#6 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:22 AM:

Abi @2: But we love your poetry!

Here's hoping that this ruling survives the inevitable appeal to the Supreme Court. Maybe the process will take long enough that it will be up to the next administration to appeal? On one hand, I don't see any of the presidential candidates railing against the current abuses of executive branch power. But, on the other hand, I do think who becomes president very much makes a difference to whether this power grab continues or not.

#7 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:05 AM:

IIRC, the case that was decided on included the singularly creepy element of =secret= search warrants, where they waited until the suspect and his family were out of the house and searched it then, carefully trying to put everything back in place.

#8 ::: Dave Weingart ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:14 AM:

It's an encouraging sign, but I don't have any great confidence that things will change at any time soon. Granted, Gonzo is gone, but the authoritarians who are currently running things will likely find some other apologists.

It's probably almost worth watching Fox or listening to wingnut radio to hear what they have to say about this, though.

#9 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 08:16 AM:

I keep thinking back to when Jackson was President and the SC had ruled that forcibly relocating the Cherokee Indians was unconstitutional. Jackson replied (paraphrasing) that when the SC had the guns they could enforce their rulings, but until then he'd do damn well what he wanted.

Bush wouldn't be so brazen as to do that, but if the SC did declare the Patriot Act unconstitutional he would come up with a way to keep running it, either publicly or secretly.

#10 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 08:52 AM:

This post could very well have been titled "Lying in the name of the State." The symmetry is quite chilling.

#11 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:01 AM:

Serge @ 5

You call that living?


John Chu @ 6

I suspect that few of the current crop of candidates* have the sheer brass balls to continue grabbing more power (especially if Geppetto steps down from the Presidensity of Vice), but I doubt that any of them will willingly give any of it up, now that it's already been stoien.


Connie H. @ 7

Clearly, for some really strange values of clarity, the persons from whom you most want to keep the secret that you're spying on them are the ones least likely to know or suspect it, that is, the innocent ones.


* I did that just for the alliteration.

#12 ::: he_he ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:06 AM:

Hwvr, th slnt pnt rmns tht ll th tls (wll, myb lss s th cprtn wth th Spnsh/ - th FB lkd rlly clmsy nd mr thn bt zls n prsng gls thr thn jstc) r stll vlbl, nd svrl hv bn nstttnlzd.

nd d kp n mnd, ths wsn't th Sprm Crt rlng - nd ys, th Bsh Lg ds kp pplng, nd vn whn t 'lss,' t smply dclrs t dsn't cr.

nd clbrtn th bstcls t rghts bng rdd my lnd cmfrt, bt dsn't chng th rsn.

#13 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:17 AM:

Why is it that I get the feeling that Judge Aiken will shortly be residing in a more tropical location?

#14 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:38 AM:

Fragano @ 13

Certainly not without a secret warrant. As the Wicked Witch of the West said, "These things must be done delicately."

#15 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:44 AM:

Bruce Cohen... Flying monkeys incoming!

#16 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 09:59 AM:

Serge @ 15

Please have them form a line at the entrance, single file. Only 12 will be allowed in this temporal loop at one time. You must be so totally screwed to go on this ride.

#17 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:02 AM:

Has anyone tried pouring water on Dick Cheney?

#18 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:03 AM:

Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) #14: Indeed, and one must never pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

#19 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:21 AM:

#18 Fragano:

I just want to know what's up with that "Surrender Aiken" message written by some lady flying on a broom.

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:37 AM:

Fragano @ 18... one must never pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

Clint Howard?

#21 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Matt @ 17

I've wondered (more than once) what would happen if he got sprinkled with or ingested holy water. I've also wondered about putting it in the AC at the Republican National Convention, but it's looking like it would also be a good idea for the Democratic National Convention.

#22 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:44 AM:

The advantage to using holy water is that the secret service can't arrest you without admitting that he is the spawn of Iblis.

#23 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:53 AM:

albatross #19: Pay no attention to the catty Malkin.

#24 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 11:13 AM:

#17 Matt, that's the whole point of the secured, secret location. It's completely water proof and dry as a mummies tomb (it also help to preserve that skin tone he's got going).

#25 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 11:47 AM:

That explains much.

Thanks Steve.

#26 ::: Lambert ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 11:49 AM:

Judicial activist.

#28 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 11:57 AM:

P J Evans @ 21

The classical air conditioning additive is thionite. Contemplating the nightmares arising from the resultant dying ecstasies is not recommended.

#29 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Lambert #26: I'm wondering how soon we'll start hearing that particular cry from people who want us to think they really mean it.

#30 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:01 PM:

Steve Buchheit @ 24

OK, so he's not mucid. He could still be glabrous or squamous.

#31 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Who took my Lovecraft spellchecker? This broken thing won't accept either mucid or glabrous (or spellchecker). It's quite happy about squamous, which is weird for a fox, even a flaming one.

#32 ::: Steve Buchheit ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:19 PM:

#30 Bruce Cohen, well sure. Terrors come in more sizes and variety that what could be shown on Shark Week. (strangely enough, I did a spellcheck with Macintosh's own system rolled variety, and it came up with a definition for everything but mucid, one of the reasons I love that company).

Plus, it explains the whole "can fly with so much liquid" issues better than bomb-making McGyver terrorists. Surely he's budded by now, and those spawn work for the TSA as on-flight security. Also explains why you feel so dry after flying.

#33 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:49 PM:

Niall @4, I was going to say the same thing. I hate that I've become so cynical and hopeless. I want to keep fighting but in almost 8 years it's never done a damn bit of good. Or seems like it hasn't, anyway. I'm sure it has in some ways. I guess they didn't get away with privatizing Social Security.

I recently bought basic cable, to get the networks to come in clearly (we live in a nearly-dead spot for TV reception). It includes C-SPAN and C-SPAN 2. I keep hoping for the day when I'll take off work to sit in front of C-SPAN with a bowl of popcorn, watching impeachment proceedings against You-Know-Who. That vision is the only thing that keeps me going some days.

#34 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 12:57 PM:

#32: Also explains post-Katrina, the Cheney buddings had to wait for the water to subside before they went in.

#35 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 01:02 PM:

And by Niall @ 4, I clearly mean Niall @3. I could have sworn it was 4 when I looked a few minutes ago.

#36 ::: jmmcdermott ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 02:25 PM:

I hear the judge's first words when he stepped into his private office were spoken out loud, in an outdoor voice, to the bric-a-brac across the walls.

"Hello Federal wire-tappers! Glad to have you following me along, now. I'll be sure to start reading all my law journals out loud, because I know how much you could use the education!"

#37 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 02:43 PM:

Why does the Constitution hate America?

#38 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Caroline @ 35... I could have sworn it was 4 when I looked a few minutes ago.

Darn time travellers!

#39 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 02:50 PM:

jmmcdermott: Judge Aiken is a woman. But other than that, I like the mental image.

#40 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 02:58 PM:

jmmcdermott @ 36

I think the judge should have sing-alongs with the Feds. I'm thinking "Sam Hall" ought to amuse them.

#41 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 03:00 PM:

Damn your eyes!

#42 ::: jmmcdermott ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Judge Aiken was a woman, until she showed more balls than congress.

#43 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:45 PM:

I don't think you actually believe that women can't be brave, but the equation of courage with the possession of male genitalia is really unfair to women.

#44 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:46 PM:

(or male gonads, which is what I swear I meant to type...)

#45 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 05:56 PM:

If I thought that the mere possession of balls would help, I might be willing to mail mine in. With a note, of course: "It was either these or my wife. I figure, ONE or the other of 'em might push you into doing the right thing."

#46 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:13 PM:

Jen 43-44: I've heard someone say, of a woman doing something gutsy, "Wow, that took ovaries!"

#47 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:51 PM:

Not quite the same ballpark of gutsyness, but I once read an article describing how to do a somewhat dangerous hardware hack: "For those of you with sufficient ovarian or testicular fortitude, ..."

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 06:54 PM:

Evangoer... Somehow, referring to dangerous hardware hacks in the same sentence as testicles makes me feel like crossing my legs.

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:07 PM:

Yes, 'hack' plus 'testicles' equals CRINGE.

#50 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:13 PM:

Xopher... Remember John Wayne Bobbitt?

#51 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:21 PM:

Serge...his testicles, IIRC, were unharmed.

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 07:28 PM:

Xopher... You do remember correctly, but some hacking did occur in the general vicinity that was just as cringe-inducing.

#53 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Xopher @46: I've heard that one as well. I kind of like "huevos" -- although it's Spanish slang for testicles, the association with eggs means it could reasonably stand in for ovaries as well.

#54 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 10:44 PM:

When referring to a woman, there's no reason "balls" can't mean "ovaries". They may be internal, but they're about as ball-shaped as testes are.

#55 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2007, 11:11 PM:

Actually, *I* do know Ann Aiken, or, rather I should say, I knew her back when I was an activist in the Lane County Democratic Party, way back in the beginning when she was working her way up from law clerk.

The lady has ovaries. Massive, tough ones. She's never backed down from a fight that I know of.

Her husband is a heavy-duty Constitutional poly sci prof at the University of Oregon.

I'm proud to see that she's doing a great job as a Federal judge.

#56 ::: Nenya ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 07:34 AM:

One could, of course, just say "guts" and leave out the gonadal references altogether. (Perhaps that lacks a certain punch.)

And good on Judge Aiken!

#57 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 09:23 AM:

Nenya @ 56... I much prefer your suggestion. No sexism in it. Gonads are out. Guts are in. ("Hey! I told you to suck in that gut.")

#58 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 12:12 PM:

When referring to a woman, there's no reason "balls" can't mean "ovaries". They may be internal, but they're about as ball-shaped as testes are.

Yes, but unless you're specific, you don't prompt anyone to question their assumptions.

Still, I gotta go with "guts." I don't see why courage has to be associated with gonads/genitalia at all.

--

Lambert @26: Judicial activist.

Ethan @29: I'm wondering how soon we'll start hearing that particular cry from people who want us to think they really mean it.

Me, blogging: Preemptive strike!

(Also see the conversation following the Whatever blog post--egad, it was there last night, what happened? Yay for MT4!)

#59 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2007, 01:10 PM:

Nicole, that's a pretty good breakdown of the rhetoric, there.

#60 ::: myrthe ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2007, 09:54 AM:

John Chu @ 6 rightly points out the Democrats don't seem much interested in curbing these horrendous powers, either.

But, even if the next President does want to grab more powers, this may be some small reassurance: The second a Democrat (or any other non-R) assumes Office, the Republicans will be vocally, loudly, powerfully back on the side of the angels on this issue. They'll fully support "restoring the constitutional balance", and quite frankly we'd be mad not to welcome them. Regaining a working government will be much more important than Who Gets Credit.

Of course, the implications are horrible to contemplate. Probably no blame will land, no *decisive* safeguards will be put in place (we thought we had those before, remember?), and no one will notice it was the Republicans who created and benefited from the mess. So then they will again.

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