Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Judiciary Strikes Back

The courts and NSA snooping. By Patrick Radden Keefe

[A] federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday issued a ruling on an obscure procedural point in a court case between the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights nonprofit, and AT&T. Judge Vaughn Walker rejected the government's claim that because of the doctrine of state secrets, traditionally used to prevent the introduction into court of specific evidence that might compromise national security, he should dismiss EFF's entire case against the phone company. It's almost unheard of for a judge to shoot down a state-secrets claim, and in that respect, Walker's decision represents a setback for the administration. But the Walker opinion signals something more significant, as well: a rejection of the Bush administration's vision of a wartime executive that can govern unchecked. The judiciary is striking back.

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