Part of PATRIOT Act ruled unconstitutional

Another federal judge has ruled that sections of the so-called USA PATRIOT Act are unconstitutional:

Two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without a showing of probable cause, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, “now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment.”

Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield sought the ruling in a lawsuit against the federal government after he was mistakenly linked by the FBI to the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people in 2004.

The Patriot Act greatly expanded the authority of law enforcers to investigate suspected acts of terrorism, both domestically and abroad.

The Fourth Amendment says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

You cannot simply throw the Constitution out the window. Individuals still have rights and the government still has limits.

  • trumpetbob15

    Now if only they would throw out part of the Internal Revenue Code. Why should I have to describe my every purchase and gift to the IRS? The IRS is even more invasive than the Patriot Act ever could be, but for some reason, the ACLU never seems to jump at the chance of taking them down.

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  • Abject_Disappointment

    Of course, we are assuming the Executive Branch will abide by this ruling.

    Since El Presidente has stated he will ignore laws he has signed into law, I won’t be jumping up and down for excitement yet.

    It is a positive sign though … I’m sure the Judge was one of those that Hannity & Company are always warning us about. You know, the one’s that “Legislate from the bench.”


  • Adam

    I read the full decision and IMO, it’s pretty straight to the point. I agree with Abject that many mainstreet conservatives will decry this ruling as legislating from the bench. If they actually read the opinion, they wouldn’t think so. This is why I hate talking heads like Hannity – they don’t actually look into what’s being presented and just look at the headlines. Liberals, as well as conservatives tend to agree with judicial activism when it suits their interests anyway.

    Link to the full opinion (it’s not too long):

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  • Jeff Molby

    The defendant here is asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning.

    This court declines to do so.

    I love judicial understatements. :-)

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