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09-27-07, 11:58 AM #1
Federal Judge rules parts of the Patriot Act are unconstitutional
PORTLAND, Ore.- A federal judge ruled Wednesday that two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without a showing of probable cause.
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."
Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield sought the ruling in a lawsuit against the federal government after he was mistakenly linked by the FBI to the Madrid train bombings in 2004.
The federal government apologized and settled part of the lawsuit for $2 million after admitting a fingerprint was misread.
But as part of the settlement, Mayfield retained the right to challenge parts of the USA Patriot Act.
Mayfield claimed that secret searches of his house and office under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, violated the Fourth Amendment's guarantee that "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause ..."
Aiken agreed with Mayfield, repeatedly criticizing the government.
"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," she wrote.
She said that by asking her to dismiss Mayfield's lawsuit, the U.S. Attorney General's office was "asking this court to, in
essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation what would deprive it of any real meaning. This court declines to do so."
Elden Rosenthal, an attorney for Mayfield, issued a statement on his behalf praising the judge, 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."
09-27-07, 01:55 PM #2
Can't mess with any of the 4th but messing with the 2nd is OK??? I just don't get it.
09-27-07, 03:02 PM #3Banned
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It's beginning to sound like we have so many laws that no one knows all the laws and so everyone is passing laws the conflict with the laws that no one knows. Or something like that.
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