"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Supreme Court just abolished the 4th Amendment

Conservatives on the Supreme Court Abolish the 4th Amendment
in the name of "National Security".

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to."     - - - Joseph Heller, Catch-22

INSANE  LOGIC  -  Democrats and Republicans in Congress have granted the President the unconstitutional power to secretly spy on American's Internet messages and phone calls without search warrants in the name of security.  But the Supreme Court says Americans have no right to sue the government because the program is secret and there is no way to tell if you have any "standing" to sue. 

Total Catch-22 Bullshit.

The Supreme Court has made some insane rulings over the years (and good ones too) but the Constitutional "logic" of the Conservative majority is off in la-la land.

When Congress and the executive branch collude to keep Americans in the dark about whether their privacy is being invaded, the Supreme Court should be willing to lift the veil of secrecy — at least to the extent of forcing the government to explain how often it is monitoring the confidential conversations of Americans.

The court abdicated that important watchdog role Tuesday when it ruled 5 to 4 that a group of journalists, lawyers and activists couldn't challenge the constitutionality of a shadowy electronic surveillance program. It's only the latest example of the court's refusal to afford victims (or potential victims) of post-9/11 policies their day in court.

Tuesday's decision came in a lawsuit filed by several people — including lawyers for suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay — who claim that a 2008 law authorizing the surveillance of non-Americans abroad violates the constitutional rights of Americans whose phone conversations and emails might be caught up in the electronic dragnet.

Judge Napolitano:  Congress Extends Warrantless Wiretapping

That would be a challenging case to make, but the Supreme Court won't even allow the plaintiffs to try. It dismissed their suit on the grounds that they lack "standing" to sue because they can't prove that their conversations with sources and clients abroad actually have been monitored reports the Los Angeles Times.

Writing for the court, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that the individuals who filed suit "merely speculate and make assumptions about whether their communications with their foreign contacts will be acquired" under the law.  Alito was supported by Conservatives John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.

Alito was similarly scornful of the argument that they deserved standing because they had incurred expenses necessary to avoid being overheard and would have to travel to talk with clients face to face. He scathingly wrote that they "cannot manufacture standing by choosing to make expenditures based on hypothetical future harm that is not certainly impending."

The requirement that individuals have "standing" — a concrete interest in a legal dispute — is an important principle. But, as Justice Stephen G. Breyer pointed out in his dissent, the court often has recognized standing in situations in which a possible adverse effect on a plaintiff wasn't a matter of "absolute or literal certainty."

Countering Alito's strained analysis with common sense, Breyer argued that "we need only assume that the government is doing its job (to find out about, and combat, terrorism) in order to conclude that there is a high probability that the government will intercept at least some electronic communication to which at least some of the plaintiffs are parties."

Of course, in a Catch-22, the plaintiffs can't prove that because the surveillance program is secret.

The law challenged in this case was extended for another five years by the last Congress, without amendments that would have required the government to provide an accounting of how often conversations and email exchanges involving Americans were collected and accessed. The lawsuit blocked by the court on Tuesday would have provided another avenue for accountability.

Supreme Court Approved.
Insanity is a universal human trait.  In the 1940s a liberal Democrat controlled Supreme Court gave a rousing "Hell Yes!" to rounding up Americans of one racial group, putting them in concentration camps without a trial and confiscating their private property.  Bill of Rights.  What Bill of Rights?

Supreme Court Approved.
Big Brother Concentration Camps, confiscation of
private property and racial identity cards. The only
thing missing was a final solution plan.

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