Quantcast

«

»

Feb 21 2012

Obama Continues to Undermine Constitutional Safeguards

The Obama administration is continuing its exceptionless pattern of attempting to deny access to the courts in every single lawsuit ever filed against the federal government for actions justified on the basis of counter-terrorism efforts. In yet another suit, the administration plays the same old shell game to prevent anyone from being able to challenge their actions in court.

Today, the government asked the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that allowed our lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act to go forward. That law gives the government unprecedented authority to monitor Americans’ international emails and phone calls.

The appeals court ruling, which was issued in March 2011, held that our case could forward, rejecting the administration’s arguments that the case should be dismissed because our clients could not prove their communications would be collected under the law…

We filed our suit less than an hour after the FISA Amendments Act was signed into law by President Bush in July 2008. The suit was filed on behalf of a broad group of attorneys and human rights, labor, legal and media organizations whose work requires them to engage in sensitive telephone and email communications with people outside the U.S. Our plaintiffs include Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, The Nation, the Service Employees International Union and journalists Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein. The Justice Department claims that the plaintiffs should not be able to sue without first showing that they have been monitored under the program – information that the government refuses to provide.

But this should not be necessary at all. We know from Mark Klein, the AT&T whistleblower who wrote Wiring Up the Big Brother Machine, that the federal government is, in fact, engaging in wholesale data mining, copying virtually every phone call, email and text message sent anywhere in the country. Every single person should have standing to sue. Every single person is having their rights violated. And not only has Obama done nothing to stop it from happening, he has actively sought to ensure that no one will ever have their day in court to challenge executive power.

10 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    And remember, the consersatives on the Supreme Court are “sensible” conservatives. That means that they don’t buy into the notion that Obama is a secret Muslim plant who is trying to undermine the US. They recognize him as one of them, and so they aren’t going to be uncomfortable with giving him or his Administration this kind of power.

  2. 2
    harold

    And remember, the consersatives on the Supreme Court are “sensible” conservatives. That means that they don’t buy into the notion that Obama is a secret Muslim plant who is trying to undermine the US. They recognize him as one of them, and so they aren’t going to be uncomfortable with giving him or his Administration this kind of power.

    Actually, the idea in right wing minds is that the Obama administration is actually likely to use this type of thing against people who can be reasonably said to have something to do with terrorism or whistle blowing. There’s no danger that Tea Party protesters or big Republican donors will be targeted. (I totally oppose the Obama administrations actions in this regard, I am just pointing out here that they aren’t targeting conservatives.)

    But eventually, a right wing government will be elected and will target people for domestic political beliefs. As they already have, e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dismissal_of_U.S._attorneys_controversy

  3. 3
    Chiroptera

    harold, #2:

    That’s pretty much what I meant.

    Sorry that I wasn’t clear.

  4. 4
    leni

    I am just going to slowly back away from the internet and finish read book 5 of the George R.R. Martin series today.

    After that Dana Loesch video, I think my blood pressure is getting dangerously high.

  5. 5
    Tenebras

    Is there ANYBODY worth voting for at this point? Or should I just sit in my house on election day and say “fuck it, we’re screwed no matter who wins”?

  6. 6
    Chris A

    I can’t tell you how sorry I am to say this, Tenebras, but it looks like our options are:

    1) Vote for some (R) lunatic who wants to control our lives in several horrible ways

    2) Vote for Obama, who is less horrible than any of the (R) candidates, for all that he sucks pretty hard by himself

    or

    3) Vote for some other person as a statement.

    I can’t say that any of these options feel appealing, but sadly, that does not make them any less true.

  7. 7
    Michael Heath

    The Justice Department claims that the plaintiffs should not be able to sue without first showing that they have been monitored under the program – information that the government refuses to provide.

    Ahh, memories of my early-twenties come flooding back, particularly the eye-opening experience reading Joseph Heller’s Catch 22.

    I’d bet money Barack Obama never imagined being the one creating such conundrums. Now our media is so ineffectual I can’t even determine if he’s aware of his culpability. I concede we should of course assume he is.

  8. 8
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    This is one of the issues I was wrong about. I told Republicans that they wouldn’t like it when the next Democrat administration used these laws and abuses of power. Heck, I don’t even recall any particular actions* against dangerous armed fringe groups during this administration, which seemed to be a sort of par for the course in the US otherwise.

    (*Poorly handled or not.)

    Anybody remember back after the al-Qaeda attacks when the FBI rep was insisting during hearings that the FBI didn’t need any new laws or powers to do their job?

  9. 9
    Marcus Ranum

    When is the “US Spring” coming?

  10. 10
    Marcus Ranum

    It seems to me that the one thing that could cause this situation to break one way or another would be if one political party or another uses the surveillance regime against the other party. Then there would be hue and cry. Or, if it is revealed that the wealthy and powerful are being monitored. Again, that might cause some change. Otherwise we have to wait for the police state to grow topheavy and collapse.

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site