Get ready for the blowback.
Rudely intruding (if only momentarily) on the oh-so-important JonBenét Ramsey story, U.S. district Judge Anna Diggs Taylor handed down a decision today that is already letting loose the rabid, frothing, mange-ridden junkyard dogs of right-wing demagoguery.
She has ruled that the warrantless surveillance of American citizens, in defiance of rules of the FISA court, is unconstitutional, and has ordered the program to be halted immediately.
David Corn of The Nation writes:
In her decision, she accused the administration of dishonestly arguing that the lawsuit filed by the ACLU and others (including journalists, researchers and lawyers) against the NSA wiretapping should be dismissed because it would expose state secrets:Once more, with feeling: "(t)he court finds Defendants' argument that they cannot defend this case without the use of classified information to be disingenuous and without merit."
It is undisputed that Defendants have publicly admitted to the following: (1) the TSP [Terrorist Surveillance Program] exists; (2) it operates without warrants; (3) it targets communications where one party to the communication is outside the United States, and the government has a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda. As the Government has on many occasions confirmed the veracity of these allegations, the state secrets privilege does not apply to this information.
Defendants assert that they cannot defend this case without the exposure of state secrets. This court disagrees. The Bush Administration has repeatedly told the general public that there is a valid basis in law for the TSP. Further, Defendants have contended that the President has the authority under the AUMF [legislation authorizing Bush to use military force against Iraq] and the Constitution to authorize the continued use of the TSP. Defendants [the Bush administration] have supported these arguments without revealing or relying on any classified information. Indeed, the court has reviewed the classified information and is of the opinion that this information is not necessary to any viable defense to the TSP....Consequently, the court finds Defendants' argument that they cannot defend this case without the use of classified information to be disingenuous and without merit.
Of course, nothing is more maddening to that pill-poppin', doctor-shoppin' gasbag Limbaugh, the Oxy Moron and his ilk, than daring to question any fascisitic tactic that the Kowboy Koward of Krawford decides to use on his bitterest enemies, the American people. That just roasts their weenies. So fasten your seatbelts, friends, and get ready for the eruption of Mount Rush. Look out for flying furniture when the Coultergeist lets loose. Try to avoid being assaulted by howls of "Activist judges! " and "Out-of-control judiciary!" and "Here come the terrorists!" Row, row, row your swift-boats gently down the screams! You'll need more than one falafel to scrub off the spew.
Naturally, it's being appealed by the Administration, and Attorney Generalissimo Alberto "No Pain, No Gain" Gonzales boldly asserts that the government will continue to use the program.
The ACLU, who filed the suit, have all the information about it, including the decision itself, on their website. Read all about it here.
At least one judge has the courage to tell it like it is. I just hope that she doesn't have to pay too high a price, and that others will support her.
Her name is Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, and you can send her a message of support, either by phone or e-mail - Mike Malloy has the contact info here.
"The Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no power not created by the Constitution."
-- Judge Anna Diggs Taylor
U.S. District Court
Now, that's music to my ears!