Breaking News, Judge Aiken Whacks Patriot Act!
A tough judge takes a bite out of the Patriot Act as the Feds whine audibly and the Dems stick their heads further into Ostrich Country sand.
Soon after Sept. 11, 2001, Congress passed the Patriot Act after less debate than I use against my wife so I can to buy and consume a Hershey bar, while on my strict high protein diet. To the discredit of the congress, which seem lost in a maze of linking America to Pre-WW II Germany, the law was renewed in 2005.
Just last month, the Bushites persuaded lawmakers to expand the government's power to listen in on foreign communications without a court order of Americans as well as foreigners. That surveillance authority expires early next year. For now, however, Brandon Mayfield and his attorney's have taken a sizeable bite out of the miscreant "law."
Brandon Mayfield, a Portland attorney, himself, in suing the federal government after the FBI tried in vain to tie him to train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people in 200, has finally found some vindication.
The Feds apologized and settled in part, his lawsuit asking for $2,000,000. The Feds admitted that a fingerprint was misread (badly, I might add, if $2,000,000 is any measure of their need to join the MLB umpires union, because their eyesight apparently rivals that of the Umps). Mayfield was sharp enough to settle in sections, retaining the right to challenge parts of the Patriot Act, which even school children know stretched the authority of police agencies to investigate suspects they believe (or want to believe) are involved in terrorist activities.
Suing that covert searches of his house and office under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act violated the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure, Mayfield, won the day and the dough, as 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."
Judge Aiken, in her ruling criticized the government on several occasions. She ruled that at least two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional in allowing covert wiretapping and searches, both of which, sans displaying probable cause.
Judge Aiken, in her opinion, 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."
U.S. attorney general's office, in requesting that she dismiss Mayfield's lawsuit, she said, 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." I might add, that court had not the power to do so as well.
One of Mayfield's attorneys, Elden Rosenthal, issued a statement on Mayfield's behalf commending the judge, for the enlightened ruling, 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."
Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesperson remarked that the agency would review Judge Aiken's decision, and declined to say anything beyond that comment.
While many believe that ruling may not have an immediate affect on enforcement of the Patriot Act. They also think that the government would appeal forthwith. Jameel Jaffer, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's national security project, said, "But it's an important first step!" he further said that several other provisions of the Patriot Act have been chalenged, but that this is one of the first major rulings on Fourth Amendment rights, saying, "This is as clear a violation of the Fourth Amendment as you'll ever find."
Garrett Epps, a constitutional law expert at the University of Oregon said, "It's embarrassing." "It represents another judicial repudiation of this administration's terrorist surveillance policies," adding that the Republicans have done a poor job defending their own creation. Before his arrest, the FBI had Mayfield under 24-hour surveillance. In so doing, they listened to his phone calls and covertly searched his law office and his home.
A Muslim convert, Mayfield, was taken into custody on May 6, 2004, because a fingerprint on the detonator at the scene of the Madrid bombing, investigators found a fingerprint that appeared to match his. He was released a few weeks later, and the FBI admitted their error and subsequently apologized to him.
The Mayfield case has been another embarrassment to the federal government. Less than a year ago, the Justice Department's own system cited the FBI for loose investigations by mistakenly tying Mayfield to the Madrid bombings. Their report stated that FBI agents and federal prosecutors made inaccurate and questionable comments to a federal judge in order to obtain arrest and criminal search warrants against Mayfield.
Further on the upside of Freedom, this month a New York federal judge ruled in favor of the ACLU in a challenge to the Patriot Act for an Internet service provider that was sent an NSL-"national security letter" ordering customer computer and phone records. The judge in that case ruled the FBI had to justify to a court such need for secrecy for longer than a very brief and reasonable period, which they were unable to do.
However, as good news as that is, watching the slimy performance of the democratic congress, many of which stood with unanimous Republican condemnation of MoveOn.org, I would not count on the Nazified Patriot Act being repealed in your lifetime unless you are an embryo of parental descent which life expectancy is minimally 90+ years.
Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo Social Media Pages:
Professor Bagnolo has majored in: Cultural Anthropology, Architectural design, painting, creative writing. As a child prodigy, abed with polio for almost two years, he was offered an opportunity to skip three grades at age 8. Later He was a (more...)