Monday, September 10, 2007

Federal Judge in blistering critique of Congress over Patriot Act

From the AP via Findlaw: Federal judge strikes down part of Patriot Act in blistering criticism of Congress

"A federal judge struck down a key part of America's top anti-terror laws in a ruling that defended judicial oversight and bashed Congress for passing a law that makes possible "far-reaching invasions of liberty."...

He said Congress, in the original USA Patriot Act and less so in a 2005 revision, had essentially tried to legislate how the judiciary must review challenges to the law. If done to other bills, they ultimately could all "be styled to make the validation of the law foolproof."...

Regarding the national security letters, he said, Congress crossed its boundaries so dramatically that to let the law stand might turn an innocent legislative step into "the legislative equivalent of breaking and entering, with an ominous free pass to the hijacking of constitutional values."

He said the ruling does not mean the FBI must obtain the approval of a court prior to ordering records be turned over, but rather must justify to a court the need for secrecy if the orders will last longer than a reasonable and brief period of time."

Update: Jack Balkan's thoughts on the decision as ever are well worth perusing.

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