Another Clinton appointee chisels away at the Patriot Act

I am not conversant with the details of the Patriot Act, nor am I a Constitutional lawyer. I simply find it interesting that, more often than not, when a Federal District Court judge rules something about the Patriot Act unlawful, that judge is a Clinton appointee. The most recent case in point is a decision out of Portland, Oregon, where Ann Aiken, a Clinton appointee, struck down part of the act:

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 federal government apologized and settled part of the lawsuit for $2 million after admitting a fingerprint was misread. But as part of the settlement, Mayfield retained the right to challenge parts of the Patriot Act.

Mayfield claimed that secret searches of his house and office under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act violated the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. Aiken agreed with Mayfield, repeatedly criticizing the government.

“For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law — with unparalleled success. A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised,” she wrote.

Aiken’s ruling may be absolutely correct.  I’m not quarreling with the ruling.  I’m just noticing a pattern.  (See here for another recent example in that same pattern.)

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  • swampacreage

    Duh . Of course the Democrats will gently chisel away at an unecessary.The Repubs only tool as they say is there blunt hammer , and then of course every problem or issue to them looks lke a nail.. Wham !
    The Democrats on the other hand can use a tapered chisel without a hammer and clean out the hardened mortar. Tap tap tinker tinker.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ ymarsakar

    A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised,” she wrote.

    As if these people are going to be the front line defenders against European style extra-constitutional authority based upon transnational values. THey’re just spewing evasive material until it is too late to enforce Constitutional standards upon judges.

  • JJ

    I actually sort of agree with her. On the other hand she’s a historical ignoramus. Lincoln of course – as I thought everybody by now knew – suspended a good bit of the Constitution to get through the war with which he had to deal; and FDR had no compunction about rounding up those of Japanese descent and interning them (though not remotely in “concentration camps” as the left likes to shriek, forgetting that he was of the left) for the duration of the war his administration fought.

    These realities make nonsense out of her assertions about what the Nation’s been doing for 200 years. She is, I suppose, a good example of why legal training ought never to be confused with an education.

    The Constitution is not a suicide pact, and we are granted the ability to protect ourselves – but I still sort of agree with her conclusion. Nothing in this country over the last fifty years has been more “extra-Constitutional” than the courts of course – and the way she arrived at her conclusion and her reasoning is nonsense – but just viscerally I still kind of agree with her.

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