Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Wednesday, March 31st, 2010.

That Pesky 4th Amendment

Bush Administration, The Constitution

A U.S. District Judge just ruled that the Bush Administration illegally spied on an Islamic charity.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said attorneys for the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, once based in Oregon, could pursue civil remedies for being subjected to warrantless domestic surveillance under an anti-terrorism program put into place by the Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S.

But you know what righties will say — we have to burn our freedoms to save them. Or something.

Update: More info in the New York Times

In a 45-page opinion, Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers who were representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance,” the judge said that the government was liable to pay them damages.

The ruling delivered a blow to the Bush administration’s claims that its warrantless surveillance program, which Mr. Bush secretly authorized shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was lawful. Under the program, the National Security Agency monitored Americans’ e-mail messages and phone calls without court approval, even though the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, required warrants.

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Michael Steele Retirement Watch

Republican Party

Betting pool proposal: On what day will Michael Steele announce he wants to spend more time with his family?

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Health Care

Paul Krugman explains why hysteria over the cost of health care reform is a tad misplaced. If you look at the impact on the budget of HCR compared to the two Bush tax cuts and the Iraq War, HCR is sweet. See more at Econobrowser.

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