Court Reverses Carter Lackey On NSA Wiretapping Program


Last August a Carter lackey sitting on the bench ruled that the NSA program was unconstitutional:

A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government’s warrantless surveillance program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency’s program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.

"Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution," Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion.

I wrote about the ruling here and said the following:

This is a joke and will be overturned. Guaranteed.

Guess what?  It was overturned today:

A federal appeals court Friday ordered the dismissal of a lawsuit challenging President Bush’s domestic spying program, saying the plaintiffs had no standing to sue.

The 2-1 ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel vacated a 2006 order by a lower court in Detroit, which had found the post-Sept. 11 warrantless surveillance aimed at uncovering terrorist activity to be unconstitutional, violating rights to privacy and free speech and the separation of powers.

U.S. Circuit Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, one of the two Republican appointees who ruled against the plaintiffs, said they failed to show they were subject to the surveillance and therefore do not have standing for their claims.

U.S. Circuit Judge Ronald Lee Gilman, a Democratic appointee, disagreed, saying he felt the plaintiffs were within their rights to sue and that it was clear to him that the surveillance program violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

I love how the MSM points out the political party that put the various judges on the bench, something which was missing when Anna Diggs Taylor first made the ruling last August.  In fact if you look at the reporting done back then they named the Judge as only "a federal judge".  Not one "Democrat appointee" is found.  Funny how that changes when the ruling is reversed in favor of Bush huh?

But I digress.  If this suit had been allowed to proceed imagine the floodgates it would open.  It was based on the idiotic idea that the wiretapping program had chilled free speech since the plaintiffs had to restrain how they talked.  If it had succeeded we would have seen lawsuits from across the country based on imaginary intimidation of free speech.

Crazy as it sounds this Carter lackey ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, and now this idiocy has been righted.

Common sense prevails.


ScotusBlog goes through the opinions and narrows them down a bit:

In dismissing the challengers’ First and Fourth Amendment claims, Judge Batchelder said there was no proof that the harms claimed by the lawsuit either would occur, or that they would be remedied by blocking the warrantless eavesdropping.

The separation of powers claim, based on an argument that President Bush set up the program outside limits imposed by Congress, was rejected by Judge Batchelder on the premise that those suing could not show that Bush’s actions had caused them any injury, because there was no proof these individuals or groups were being monitored.

Batchelder dismissed an argument made by Judge Taylor that, if there were no standing in this case, perhaps no court could review the NSA spying program. The lead opinion said that the remedies of political response would still be available. The Court, Batchelder said, had constitutional limits of its own. "It would ill behoove us to exceed our authority in order to condemn the President or Congress for exceeding theirs," she wrote.

Her opinion also rejected claims of standing to sue under three federal laws — the Administrative Procedure Act, the domestic wiretap law, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Judge Gibbons’ separate, and ultimately controlling, opinion discussed only the question of standing under Article III — constitutional standing. Thus, she said, it was unnecessary for her to discuss any of the claims of standing under federal statutes. Much of her opinion was aimed at the dissent. In every case cited by the dissent to show standing, Gibbons wrote, the suing party was clearly found to be subject to the conduct that had been challenged. Because of the state secrets privilege’s restriction on evidence to show whether the individuals in the NSA case had been targeted, the concurring judge said standing could not be established.

Judge Ronald Lee Gilman dissented, finding standing to exist for the attorneys who were parties in the lawsuit. There was proof, Judge Gilman found, that the NSA program did not follow the requirements of the FISA to protect privileged discussions between lawyers and clients. The program, he wrote, forces the attorneys "to decide between breaching their duty of confidentiality to their clients and breaching their duty to provide zealous representation." They must travel in order to avoid the risk of surveillance, he said.

Amazing how a Clinton lackey agrees with the Carter lackey huh?  Two of the worst Presidents in history nominate two judges lacking any common sense.

Other’s Blogging:

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

From reading the decisions, a couple of things struck me. First was that all three of the judges basically ignored the district court ruling. Appeals courts hate to have to do that, so this was definitely a slap to the original Judge. Even the dissenting judge barely touches on it.

The second thing was that it’s fairly obvious that the judge writing the ultimately controlling decision on lack of standing would have agreed with the judge who also held that they didn’t win on the merits, but chose not to. And that begs the question as to why not?

I have my suspicions. By not joining in that part of the case, the judge rendered this a non-precedential decision. And as such, it won’t be likely to be accepted by SCOTUS for review. That way they don’t have to risk something as important as this on the whim of Justice Kennedy.

6th Circuit kicks ACLU’s standing argument in challenge to terror surveillance to the curb

We covered crooked Anna Diggs Taylor’s ridiculous ruling in federal district court pretty extensively last year. Check it all out here.
Good news from the 6th Circuit today. From a PAO at Justice:
“We are pleased with the Court’s d…