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Parts of the Patriot Act Ruled Unconstitutional

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  • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:04AM (#20766657) Homepage
    Seriously, why did this take so long?
    • by Speedracer1870 (1041248) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:09AM (#20766703)
      It would be unpatriotic to vote down the patriot act. Seriously, it would have been a lot easier to defeat had it been named the communist act.
      • by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:24AM (#20766831) Homepage Journal
        The patriotic thing to do is to uphold the Constitution, the highest law of the land. You know, the document your forefathers fought and died to uphold. If the PATRIOT Act is in conflict with the Constitution, then it is unpatriotic, just like the Members of Congress who voted it in and the President who signed the bill.
        • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:46AM (#20767053)

          If the PATRIOT Act is in conflict with the Constitution, then it is unpatriotic, just like the Members of Congress who voted it in and the President who signed the bill.

          Agreed. They were so afraid of getting attacked that they ignored the constitution they swore to uphold. So they are, specifically: cowards, traitors, and oath-breakers.

          • by cluckshot (658931) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @09:16AM (#20767369)

            I want to pitch a little bit of history of the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution. It is critical to this discussion.

            The Bill of Rights pushed by the "Anti-Federalists" led by Thomas Jefferson was never intended to give the government power nor was it intended to do anything other than provide a tripwire for the citizens to know the government was getting out of hand. It wasn't an enumeration of rights either. T. Jefferson saw the French Revolution supposed to be a copy of our own revolution going seriously wrong. He built this to prevent terror by the state. That is the reason pure and simple. It was to protect the people from terrorism of the worst kind.

            Rather than being a beginner to terrorism as the press and President would have you believe the USA was forged in a sea of terrorism. Its right there in the Declaration of Independence if you want to read it. It happened in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama from 1810 to 1814 with tens of thousands killed. It happened in the Plains Indian Wars of the 1867 to 1885 period. It happened again in the West USA as late as after 1900! (I know my family was there!) Yes it was state sponsored. England Paid the bills. Yes it was religious extremist terrorists every time.

            The USA is an ignorant fool if it thinks that giving up its right will make it safe. These rights including the right to be armed are essential rights. Just like removing the quills from a porcupine does not make it safer or protect its rights, removing the rights of people does not make them safe or protect them. Just as a quill free porcupine is now at risk of all terrors people without their rights are the same. As nobody makes a business of kicking porcupines nobody makes a business of picking on a well armed and well defended people who defend their rights.

            Today we in the USA see ourselves threatened on every side by a terrorism of the State which is using Al Quada as a mafia enforcer to extract about a trillion dollars in stolen money from the American People each year as a result of this protection racket. This engine of terrorism comes up with new threats every appropriations season in congress. This terrorism by the state has broken our currency stealing more than 1/3 of the value of everything in the USA. It has broken our armed forces in the world and threatens to sink the entire world into a new reign of terror such as has never been seen. All of this is in the name of the "Patriot Act". Real patriots will oppose the sheering of rights that makes this possible.

            • by Grendel Drago (41496) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @10:28AM (#20768373) Homepage
              The Bill of Rights was drafted by Madison in 1789. The French Revolution began that year, but the Reign of Terror didn't start until 1793. It seems a little odd that Jefferson could have foreseen how the Revolution overseas would turn out and been influenced to push for a Bill of Rights because of it, rather than arguments which had begun well before the French stormed the Bastille.
            • by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @10:48AM (#20768621) Journal

              Real patriots will oppose the sheering of rights that makes this possible.
              Yes, our rights are opaque and should never, ever be sheered.

              Perhaps you meant "sheared"? I agree that our rights should always be woolly, and shearing them would be a fleecing of the highest order.
            • by Dausha (546002) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @10:57AM (#20768751) Homepage
              "T. Jefferson saw the French Revolution supposed to be a copy of our own revolution going seriously wrong. He built this to prevent terror by the state."

              1. Bill of Rights---1789 (drafted by Madison).[1]
              2. French Revolution's Reign of Terror---1792.[2]
              3. Jefferson's role in the Constitution---None, he was in France. [3]

              Based on the three facts above, I don't see how your statement stands. The Bill of Rights was not to prevent terrorism, but to prevent the Federal government from becoming bloated and repressive. The Courts have misconstrued the 14th Amendment to allow leveraging the BoR against states as well.[4]

              The Bill of Rights states that searches cannot be _unreasonable_, which the Courts have defined. You can be searched in airports by federal officers (TSA) when traveling because the extreme risk of a bomb makes searching everybody reasonable. Allowing another 9/11 carries a high risk; which makes an otherwise unreasonable search _more_ reasonable. Probable cause twists with the risk of not searching.

              This is also a Federal District judge making a ruling. There will likely be an appeal to the 9th Circuit and perhaps also to SCOTUS. This is only a shot across the bow of the PATRIOT Act.

              ----
              [1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights [wikipedia.org] ("[The Bill of Rights were initially] drafted by James Madison in 1789...")
              [2]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_revolution [wikipedia.org] (The Revolution began in 1789)
              [3]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_jefferson [wikipedia.org] ("Because Jefferson served as minister to France from 1785 to 1789, he was not able to attend the Constitutional Convention. He generally supported the new constitution despite the lack of a Bill of Rights...")
              [4] Amend XIV, Sec. 5 gives Congress sole enforcement authority. (http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.amendmentxiv.html). However, SCOTUS and the state courts have applied it. This is itself unconstitutional in light of Section 5.
          • Unless they somehow got it ratified as an Ammendment TO the Constitution. Oh shit, they are watching, and now they know. Dammit, I suck.
        • If the PATRIOT Act is in conflict with the Constitution, then it is unpatriotic, just like the Members of Congress who voted it in and the President who signed the bill.

          Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, for getting the capitalization right on this Act! I've said it before, but the more we remember to keep the case on this one, the more people remember that it's an acronym, and NOT a description of the Act itself. Seriously: People Attracted To Rodents In Other Tights? Puppies Always Traveling Roughly If

          • by bentcd (690786)

            Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, for getting the capitalization right on this Act!
            To really bring the point home, I would have thought that "P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act" would be even better. It makes it seem more like what it is: a villain from a "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." episode :-)
          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by godscent (22976)
            Actually, PATRIOT Act is also wrong. It's the USAPATRIOT Act, or The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act.
        • by kalirion (728907)
          Does this "Constitution" you're so in love with have the word "Patriot" in it's name? I rest my case.
        • The people who talk the most about it are the ones with the most to hide.

          It's called protective coloration. The pedophile is the loudest "advocate" of protecting children. The person who would line his pockets and those of his cronies at the public expense is the most ostentatiously dogmatic about the duty to serve the country.

          True service to a cause is substantive, not symbolic. A real patriot doesn't spend a lot of effort being symbolically patriotic in an attention grabbing way; indeed he acts patrio
      • by Sierpinski (266120) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:50AM (#20767081)
        It would be unpatriotic to vote down the patriot act. Seriously, it would have been a lot easier to defeat had it been named the communist act.

        I was asking myself the same question (parent of this parent as well), why did it take several years for something that was so much of a blatant violation of the Bill of Rights be removed? Does it actually take a challenge (ie lawsuit) for a court to overturn anti-constitutional laws?

        You can go back even farther, how in the world did Congress ever allow this bill to become law anyway? Oh, did it ride on the coattails of another bill that was a sure-in to be signed? Now THAT is something that I think needs to change. If something is important enough to go before Congress, it should warrant its OWN vote, and not be able to be attached to something else, especially if the bill it's being attached to has nothing to do with the attached bill.

        Of course, lets see Congress pass a law outlawing that. Where are the checks and balances here?
        They didn't really talk much about the underhanded tricks of Congress in my high school government class.
        • by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @09:21AM (#20767419)

          I was asking myself the same question (parent of this parent as well), why did it take several years for something that was so much of a blatant violation of the Bill of Rights be removed? Does it actually take a challenge (ie lawsuit) for a court to overturn anti-constitutional laws?
          Yes. A judge cannot, on his own initiative, declare a law unconstitutional. There first must be a legitimate challenge to the law made by someone. And people can't simply file a suit to challenge *any* law - they must be able to show that they "have standing", which basically means they can show that the law in question has negatively affected them in some fashion.

          You can go back even farther, how in the world did Congress ever allow this bill to become law anyway?
          It was simply 9/11 madness. If enough people can be sufficiently frightened, then just about *any* law can be ramrodded through Congress. It's one of the great weaknesses in the whole democratic concept, and one of the major reasons that the Founding Fathers put all those checks-and-balances into the Constitution.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mapsjanhere (1130359)
            The "standing" problem is what keeps most of the hidden surveillance in place. Since you can't show that they spied on you, you can't sue. It even went so far that even when people had evidence that their phone calls had been tapped (as happened when some attorney got a list of tapped phone calls from the FBI by mistake) the evidence was declared classified and inadmissible. No list, no standing, no law suit. And the telecom industry hides behind a statute that forbids them to talk about the surveillance,
        • by Daniel_Staal (609844) <DStaal@usa.net> on Thursday September 27, 2007 @09:22AM (#20767427)

          I was asking myself the same question (parent of this parent as well), why did it take several years for something that was so much of a blatant violation of the Bill of Rights be removed? Does it actually take a challenge (ie lawsuit) for a court to overturn anti-constitutional laws?
          Yes. In theory you could pass another law which says the old law is invalid, but in practice nearly any law will stand until challenged in court. Congress, like any other body of people, rarely wants to admit it was wrong.

          You can go back even farther, how in the world did Congress ever allow this bill to become law anyway? Oh, did it ride on the coattails of another bill that was a sure-in to be signed?
          As much as I hate that practice, that is not relevant in this case: the PATRIOT act was it's own bill, and it was a sure-in to be signed. It was the immedeate, paniced, reaction to the 9/11 attacks. People wanted Congress to do something anything to make them 'safe' again. Unfortunately in the panic, the bill that was presented made us less safe, not more. But it sounded like it made people safe, so that was enough.
        • Welcome to the American legal system, the wheels of which grind slowly but very fine.

          In this case, I'll be writing my elected reps to lord it over all of them. I did write to thank them a couple days ago when I read about how they had tried but failed to pass a measure to repeal that stinking pile of horseshit law called the Patriot Act.

          At least the tide seems to be turning back to status pre-September 11, 2001. Too bad it's taken so bleedin' long.
        • Well, it's not like they didn't try. In 2003 the Protecting the Rights of Individuals Act [loc.gov] by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski and Democrat Senator Ron Wyden. It attempted to put limits on "sneak and peak" searches and roving wiretaps, narrowed the USA PATRIOT Act's definition of terrorism and reinstated judicial review when agencies wished to access library and business records. Not only that, but it would have also restored the primary purpose criteria of FISA surveillance - which is what this court did
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Because the government and the law are like a barge instead of a speedboat. Just be glad that it CAN still happen (contrary to what the cynics say).
    • by Jeff DeMaagd (2015) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:31AM (#20766905) Homepage Journal
      I think the history is that the courts have allowed temporary wartime injustices like this in the past, loss of habeas corpus during the Civil War (if you suggested peace with the South you might be arrested), internment of Germans in WWI, and the internment of Japanese in WWII.

      The problem is that the current administration wants to have it both ways, wartime/emergency/crisis powers and wants the domestic life to otherwise behave as if there is no emergency, such as repeatedly cutting taxes, despite deficit spending.
      • by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Thursday September 27, 2007 @09:14AM (#20767343) Homepage
        You'll notice however that unlike in the past, the Patriot Act was (by it's backers at least) hoped to be a permanent new set of laws. The Patriot Act's original wording might have made it temporary, but that was quickly amended. This was never about being for the war, this was just a power grab, and it worked, despite having just had a part of it overturned.

        Think about it like this, if it took 5 years to have a piece of the Patriot Act thrown out.. what's to stop another identical new law from being passed and taking ANOTHER 5 years to have it thrown out, all the while being used to illegally wiretap? The only way to stop this from happening again is prosecute those who did the illegal wiretaps.
        • "Thrown out" or ruled unconstitutional? My undertanding that one judge in one case ruled against it, yet the provisions still stand. The next steps will be to get the provisions "thrown out" but as of right now, it's just a ruling, no?
          • by neoform (551705)
            INAL but, form what I understand, it basically sets a precedent that makes it very easy to have any future applications of the law in court invalid. If someone sues the state for illegally wiretapping their phones, they'll only have to cite this case and they can show the law is unconstitutional and win.. which makes the law pretty much useless.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by suv4x4 (956391)
        I think the history is that the courts have allowed temporary wartime injustices like this in the past

        US is in war with someone almost all the time, what a convenient setup.

        So basically, the President has no power to take out civil liberties and break the constitution... buuut he has the power to start a war, declare wartime, and THEN he can do whatever the hell he feels like.

        I love it :)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by HarvardAce (771954)

          So basically, the President has no power to take out civil liberties and break the constitution... buuut he has the power to start a war, declare wartime, and THEN he can do whatever the hell he feels like.
          Except that, constitutionally, he doesn't have the power to declare war, only Congress does [wikipedia.org].
  • Ron Paul voted against it in the first place and has tried to restore civil rights at every chance since then.

    Most other politicians voted for it without reading it, or were swept up in panic and kneejerk reactions, and now tiptoe around the issue. Ron Paul is adamant in requiring habeas corpus, warrants, and everything else that America has stood for ... until now.
    • by florescent_beige (608235) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:09AM (#20766701) Journal
      At what point can we expect an AdBlock Plus, Ron Paul edition? Because, I'm wanting one.
      • It's called NoScript. Unless it's explicitly authorized it cannot be done. However, there's a safely stored whitelist of scripts that are permitted, which we all hold dear.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by neoform (551705)
        Step 1:

        File > Save Page

        Step 2:

        Open html page in text editor.

        Step 3:

        Search/Replace "Ron Paul" with "Santa Clause".

        Step 4:

        Open saved page in browser of choice.

        Step 5:

        Feelings of good tidings and joy.
    • by wbren (682133)
      ...and he will also get rid of stuff like the Federal Reserve [lewrockwell.com]. I think it's great that he thinks civil liberties are important, but you need to look at the whole candidate. Some people I know supported Ron Paul for a while and thought he was great, until they researched some of the things he would like to do.
  • Useless Victory (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CWRUisTakingMyMoney (939585) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:07AM (#20766685)
    Great...now how will anyone be able to use this ruling if they don't know they've been searched in the first place? You need legal standing to sue, and that means being able to prove you've been searched, which act will be either 1) impossible or 2) illegal under the same Act.
    • Re:Useless Victory (Score:5, Informative)

      by Elemenope (905108) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:30AM (#20766885)

      So cynical...while it has limited utility, the decision is not useless. Police tend to use surveillance techniques and police procedures which procure evidence that can be used to obtain a conviction; if the Act is unconstitutional, evidence obtained under its provisions is inadmissible in court. Knowing that, police agencies will be less likely to use powers in accord with those provisions, since anything that they gather using it will be useless in a court of law.

      Yes I know police do go off the rails--"Don't taze me, bro!"--but at least a ruling of this sort curbs one of the worst abuses that can emanate from inappropriate police investigative conduct, namely convictions in a court of law.

      • Police who misuse such powers also lie, and pretend "national security" when told to produce the foundation for their search. They also gather political, not criminal, information. The FBI history of this goes right back to J. Edgar Hoover gathering information on peaceful protesters.
        • by Elemenope (905108)

          You are right. That's why I said the decision was good but of limited utility. It prevents only one type of abuse (wrongful conviction by inappropriate procurement of evidence). I have to ask you, though, do you really believe that those who have a propensity to misuse police powers wait till they have legislative cover before they do so? J. Edgar Hoover et. al. conducted politically-motivated surveillance long before anything like the PATRIOT Act was enacted.

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:10AM (#20766717)
    I have a feeling that in some way we will see a repeat of the Indian Removal act with this. Congress and the President will say: The justices have made their decision, now let them enforce it.
    • But... isn't that the responsibility of the Executive branch of the federal government? Can he/they honestly refuse to not enforce the law? I mean legally of course... lord knows Bush thinks he's entitled to do damn near anything these days...
      • "Can he/they honestly refuse to not enforce the law?"

        If he can expect no recourse from Congress, he can safely ignore whatever the judiciary says. And in this case, with an election so close, my bet is on Congress leaving him alone. Whichever party wins, they know it would be bad if another terrorist attack occurred on their watch, so even if the Patriot Act is ineffective and actually counterproductive, they will want everything at their disposal to maintain their image.

        It will be the responsibility
  • I am by no means an expert on the constitution or politics but everything I've read about the Patriot Act seems to go against what I was taught in school. This sounds like a first step back towards where this country was intended to be.
    • by kir (583)
      OK. So you've read about the PATRIOT Act. Have you read the Act itself?
    • There's a reason some of my friends and I call it the "My Little Pony Act." I mean, come on, who could be against that! There's always the "Free Beer!" Act, but "Patriot" act stirs up all the right emotions with jingoistic delight to obscure all the flaws just long enough...
  • by CFBMoo1 (157453) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @08:17AM (#20766785) Homepage
    It's about damn time we don't give up our principles for security. Glad to see someone in the three branches of government finally standing up for whats right. I don't want security in my country if it gives my government a blank check to do whatever it pleases. We all know what could happen down the road if governments get too much control and decide they could do what they like.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/09/27/myanmar.protests/index.html [cnn.com]

    That could very well be in our future if we write blank checks for terrorism prevention. Lets keep our own house in order so when we go to clean up someone elses house we don't look like fools.
  • Judge Aiken's opinion said in finding violations of the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable search and seizure. "A shift to a nation based on extraconstitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill advised."

    I'll bet W is wondering where in the constitution it says "Extraconsitutional Authority is prohibited"

    This comment is powered by the energy generated by dynamos attached to the spinning graves of J. Edgar Hoover, Joe McCarthey, Richard Nixon...
  • What amazes me, frankly, is that this has happened at all. From what I've seen in my short life, most people who rise to positions of authority in the U.S. Government are totally unwilling to trade their position and prestige for Constitutional principle. Although I am unfamiliar with her situation, I suspect that this particular judge will rise no higher in the ranks of the Federal Government (which may not be her wish, anyway).

    As an aside, I am really tired of hearing about all of the cool stuff around he
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Temkin (112574)

      Although I am unfamiliar with her situation, I suspect that this particular judge will rise no higher in the ranks of the Federal Government



      That would be up to us. If we remember her for her good works, and demand her promotion via the electoral process, she will advance. If we keep electing corporate plutocrats... Perhaps not.

    • And when you say Oregon, you mean Portland. I grew up in Oregon. Outside of Portland and Eugene, it is more backwards, redneck, in-bred than where I live now (Texas). And THAT'S saying a lot! And futhermore, we Oregonian Republicans are really where the Democrat party wants to be. The problem is, none of us Oregonian Republicans want to be associated with the mainstream Democrats and none of the mainstream Democrats can stand the term Republican, even if Oregonian Republicans are more liberal than your
    • by db32 (862117)
      Hillary is an "East Coast Liberal" You have a looooong uphill battle if you want to clear your names.
  • Floored (Score:2, Interesting)

    by n3tcat (664243)
    I'm stunned. I had no idea the American system was still capable of curing these problems anymore.

    I was well on the way to staying in Germany permanently due to the issues I've had with the US government over the last few years. Big victories like this one cause me to stop and reflect, however, and several more actions of this nature will make living in America seem appealing again.
  • I expect Bush will say something like "The judge's ruling shows that the constitution is unpatriotic and therefore needs to be changed."
  • by TheSpatulaOfLove (966301) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @09:23AM (#20767443)
    When they began talking about the unPatriot Act, I called BS immediately. This administration and Congress have wiped their collective asses with the Constitution and they should be indicted for treason.

    Fine, I'll give the legislators a bone here about passing this legislation while everyone was reeling from 9/11, but I still can't believe that our leaders who are voted to protect the Constitution VOTED FOR IT AGAIN! Amazing!

    This piece of garbage is not about 'protecting freedom' - it's all about control and falls in line with Daddy Bush's vision of the New World Order. The largest obstacle to this was the American Constitution. Take away those rights, and it's easy to become dictator. I'm glad SOMEONE in power woke the fuck up and saw that the unPatriot Act pretty much canceled out every major right the Constitution guarantees US citizens!


    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. ~Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
  • Attemted treason (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Froze (398171) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @09:26AM (#20767467) Homepage
    Wouldn't it be great if we could charge all those who signed the bill into law with attempted treason?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Why not start with violation of oath, and have them kicked out of office? I mean, the oath they take says something about "upholding the Constitution", right? Then we can move on to other things like treason. Get them out of office first.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kirth Gersen (603793)
      The parent has been rated Troll. I don't see why. The Patriot Act was treasonous as well as being unconstitutional: there have been plenty of laws which were merely unconstitutional, but the Patriot Act allowed the Bush administration to claim it could legally ignore the constitution. Just being the President doesn't mean you can't be a traitor to the United States: it just means you have a much better chance of success.
  • In case anyone wants to read the opinion, it's here [uscourts.gov]
  • that this judge is going to end up on a plain to some country where torture is legal. Enemy Combatant == Enemies of the Dicta... err I mean President
  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @03:14PM (#20772535) Homepage
    Trying to, like... enforce the constitution. How dare they legislate from the bench!

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