Monday, December 16, 2013

Judge Slams NSA

Judge Richard J. Leon of the DC District Court (my new hero) issued a preliminary injunction today against the NSA's massive and indiscriminate collection of Americans' telephone data, ruling that the program violated the Fourth Amendment's right to privacy. He referred to the program as "Orwellian," "indiscriminate" and "arbitrary." However, he stayed his injunction while the NSA appealed his decision, in light of national security concerns. You can read the full 68-page opinion here; and you can read a New York Times story about the opinion here.

I have no idea whether Judge Leon's decision will survive appeal, or whether the plaintiffs will ultimately prevail on the merits. Today's decision only allows them their day in court to have their claims heard; although, as Judge Leon pointed out, a preliminary injunction is only justified if the court finds the plaintiffs have a substantial likelihood of success on the merits. I also express no opinion about the quality of Judge Leon's arguments. I'm not, generally speaking, a constitutional law scholar; my expertise on matters constitutional is limited to the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. I'll leave the parsing of Judge Leon's constitutional arguments to Fourth Amendment scholars.

Regardless, I applaud Judge Leon's willingness to stand up against the blatant overreaching of "national insecurity" apparatchiks and defend our individual liberties, as guaranteed by our constitution.

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