And by Article III judges….
The Second Circuit appellate court has ruled in favor of individual liberty, privacy, and free speech all in one ruling.
[The Second Circuit] ruled Thursday the National Security Agency’s controversial collection of millions of Americans’ phone records isn’t authorized by the Patriot Act, as the Bush and Obama administrations have long maintained.
The Court held, in part,
…we hold that the text of [the law in question] cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and that it does not authorize the telephone metadata program. We do so comfortably in the full understanding that if Congress chooses to authorize such a far‐reaching and unprecedented program, it has every opportunity to do so, and to do so unambiguously. Until such time as it does so, however, we decline to deviate from widely accepted interpretations of well‐established legal standards.
Indeed. The question is a political one and not a judicial one. It may be that Congress will screw this up and authorize the thing, but in that event we have recourse: we can fire the blackguards in an upcoming election and select, instead, representatives who understand our rights as free men.
The court’s ruling was based on one of the core questions regarding this law:
[T]he government takes the position that the metadata collected—a vast amount of which does not contain directly “relevant” information, as the government concedes—are nevertheless “relevant” because they may allow the NSA, at some unknown time in the future, utilizing its ability to sift through the trove of irrelevant data it has collected up to that point, to identify information that is relevant. We agree with appellants that such an expansive concept of “relevance” is unprecedented and unwarranted.
Sorry guys—no fishing expeditions, either.
The Second Circuit’s ruling can be read here.