Sunday, June 11, 2006

Checks and balances

By Creature

Since Congress has been negligent in their oversight duties, maybe the judiciary will take control.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The National Security Agency's domestic spying program faces its first legal challenge in a case that could decide if the White House is allowed to order eavesdropping without a court order.

Oral arguments are set for Monday at U.S. District Court in Detroit at which the American Civil Liberties Union will ask Judge Anna Diggs Taylor to declare the spying unconstitutional and order it halted.

The case goes to the heart of the larger national debate about whether President Bush has assumed too much power in his declared war on terrorism.

This from Judge Diggs Taylor a few weeks ago:

DETROIT -- A federal judge in Detroit said she will proceed with hearings in a suit that challenges a domestic spying program run by the National Security Agency, despite assertions from the Bush administration that doing so would reveal "state secrets" that affect national security.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor also chided the NSA and lawyers for the Department of Justice for failing to respond to the court challenge, brought Jan. 18 by a local resident, Nizah Hassan, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American Islamic Relations. Despite having twice extended time for the government, Diggs Taylor said it has failed to respond.

Tomorrow the government will have to respond. Here's to hoping Judge Diggs Taylor -- a Carter appointee -- is one of those damn "activist" judges.

Update: The judge punts, for now.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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