Friday, September 07, 2007

Judge strikes down part of Patriot Act

From the AP:

Judge strikes down part of Patriot Act

A federal judge struck down a key part of the USA Patriot Act on Thursday in a ruling that defended the need for judicial oversight of laws and bashed Congress for passing a law that makes possible "far-reaching invasions of liberty."

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero immediately stayed the effect of his ruling, allowing the government time to appeal. Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said: "We are reviewing the decision and considering our options at this time."

The ruling handed the American Civil Liberties Union a major victory in its challenge of the post-Sept. 11 law that gave broader investigative powers to law enforcement.

The ACLU had challenged the law on behalf of an Internet service provider, complaining that the law allowed the FBI to demand records without the kind of court supervision required for other government searches. Under the law, investigators can issue so-called national security letters to entities like Internet service providers and phone companies and demand customers' phone and Internet records.

In his ruling, Marrero said much more was at stake than questions about the national security letters.

He said Congress, in the original USA Patriot Act and less so in a 2005 revision, had essentially tried to legislate how the judiciary must review challenges to the law. If done to other bills, they ultimately could all "be styled to make the validation of the law foolproof."

I'm no fan of the patriot act. I read it shortly after it was passed and helped research a legal brief on it (I was dating a law student.) and the whole thing is one big slippery slope in my opinion and

I've voiced my opposition to my elected representatives numerous times. Fortunately one of the true beauties of America is that when bad legislation is passed its citizens have a manner of recourse to overturn it. Its a slooow process but it works. Hopefully this part of the Patriot act will be off to do a final farewell performance with Justice John Roberts and the Supremes.