A federal judge in Detroit has ordered the Bush administration to halt the National Security Agency’s programme of domestic eavesdropping, saying it violated the US constitution.
Thursday’s ruling was a setback for the Bush administration, which has defended the programme as an essential tool in its “war on terrorism“.
Judge Anna Diggs Taylor said the controversial practice of warrantless phone tapping, known as the Terrorist Surveillance Programme, violated free speech rights, protections against unreasonable searches and the constitutional check on the power of the presidency.
The programme has been widely criticised by civil rights activists and raised concern among politicians, including some in George Bush’s own Republican party, who say the president may have overstepped his powers by authorising it.
“Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our constitution,” Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the programme has made it difficult for them to do their jobs.
New Zeal It is great to see Judge Taylor invoke the US constitution against President Bush. While the lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (founded by the Communist Party USA and still dominated by the left), their cause was entirely just.
What use is opposing Islamofascism, when in so doing you turn your own country into a police state?