Congress: don't cripple the suit against the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program

The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Kurt Opsahl sez, "Today the San Jose Mercury News published my op-ed explaining the importance of EFF's litigation against AT&T for its cooperation with the warrantless surveillance program. While the Administration continues to push to stop the case in its tracks, the article argues that 'It would be a travesty to deny the opportunity for justice to those whose privacy has perished under a presidential program, and to prevent the courts from determining whether the Constitution supports the president's claim of unbridled executive power.'"
The administration's attempt to stop the litigation based on the secrecy argument failed before the U.S. District Court, and the administration's appeal is pending before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Unnamed sources have informed reporters that the government and the telecommunications carriers are deeply concerned that the 9th Circuit will allow the case to proceed, and now an army of telecom lobbyists and administration officials is trying to stop the litigation by persuading Congress to grant full immunity to the carriers.

The Hepting case, along with companion cases pending in District Court, represent the country's best hope to test the administration's extreme view of executive power in the crucible of judicial scrutiny, and to allow the courts to determine whether we are truly a nation governed by law or by people.

It is imperative that our society gets answers to crucial questions raised by the warrantless surveillance program on the separation of powers and the scope of executive authority. The courts must not be pulled from the fight, whether by the state secret privilege or immunity legislation. It would be a travesty to deny the opportunity for justice to those whose privacy has perished under a presidential program, and to prevent the courts from determining whether the Constitution supports the president's claim of unbridled executive power.

Link (Thanks, Kurt!)

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  1. If there isn’t a way to comment on a post, then comments have been disabled for that post. Probably because it doesn’t warrant a discussion.

    Secondly, Keep up the good fight EFF! I have donated to you, and I see my donations have gone to good use.

    Keep fighting for the little guy! Or in this case, the entire USA.

  2. Fr ths lkng t cmmnt n th L Gn sttn, th Lssg pst (nfrtntly) hs dscssn gng n thr.

    Words can’t describe the appreciation I feel toward the EFF and everyone else who is pushing the current administration to stop obfuscating and argue its case in the courtroom. The secrecy and corruption of this administration appall me, and I have an even dimmer view of their attempts to dismantle the US Constitution.

    I wish there was a possibility of having 60 Democrats in the Senate before the 2008 elections, but there isn’t so you’re who we depend on to keep fighting the good fight.

  3. A fairly disturbing state of affairs– which I hope the court system is able to remedy.

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  4. I’m pretty sure the headline for this article is screwed up. In print, a headline that includes a name or institution (“Congress”) followed by a colon (:) followed by a point of view (“don’t cripple…”) always indicates that the institution or named person is the one espousing that opinion. When I read this headline, I expected an article that related Congress’ opinion that the lawsuit should not be crippled. A proper headline would be “Doctorow: don’t cripple the suit against the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program” or “Doctorow to Congress: don’t cripple the suit against the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program” or “Congress, don’t cripple the suit against the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program” with a comma instead of a colon.

  5. Boy this is just a thread of deleted posts.

    Even the mod’s posts were deleted.

    BB, I’ve been following this “issue” since it came to light. I really don’t understand. Why bother re-enabling comments at all? I’m sorry Cory is being put through the wringer but this is a natural topic for people to want to talk about it. You have a website that allows people to comment. You can’t just selectively delete without commenting reasonable (a lot that got deleted seemed reasonable to me) posts and expect to foster some kind of community.

    Additionally, the whole issue is really interesting. What’s okay to copy, when do “take down notices” go to far, what are the responsibilities of sites that have illegal content, is there a middle ground? A lot of the content on BB attempts to answer those questions. But here they are, Cory in effect brought them right to BB’s doorstep, and it appears BB ignored the opportunity to talk about those questions.

    Why pretend nothing is going on?

  6. Tnko, Zos, you’re right — it’s disruptive and upsetting, and I deplore the necessity. But at the moment, it appears to be impossible to discuss the episode without having people ragging on Le Guin.

    There’s a longer comment on this in the Lessig thread.

Comments are closed.