Thursday, September 6, 2007
That darn constitution
Well, blow me down! A federal judge in New York has ruled that part of the recently revised USA Patriot Act violates the First Amendment and the constitutional separation of powers. Can you believe it? After months and months and months of copouts instead of decisions by the courts on the Bush administration's assault on civil liberties, U.S. District Court Judge Victor Marrero has said "stop." The revised law permitted the FBI to use secret national security letters to force communications companies to reveal customer records, and to bar the companies from telling anyone that they had done so. Saying the government's position raised the "ominous" specter of the "hijacking of constitutional values," Judge Marrero declared portions of the act unconstitutional. The case, filed by an internet service provider whose name has not been revealed, actually is the third time federal judges blocked portions of the Patriot Act, the second time for Marrero. The American Civil Liberties Union represented the Internet company. The government, of course, is expected to appeal.