Every once in a while, this deeply politically divided state of Oregon comes up with a winner. This article on the UPI wire service about a Federal case here in Oregon caught my attention as one such win. U.S. District Judge Garr King is quoted as telling the US attorneys:
“To the extent it can be done without compromising national security interests, a litigant has a right to know the legal and factual positions being taken by the government so they can respond to them.”
Maybe he is just grandstanding, but he won’t let the Feds keep secret the results of the wiretapping they did under the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program authorized by the Patriot Act.
It reminds me of the horrific searches and seizures done by the British when they were trying to squelch the American sedition in the late 1700’s. It was that reaction to such things as a general warrant that put Article IV in our Bill of Rights:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
That’s about as clear as it can be. The kind of electronic surveillance we have now acts very much like a general warrant.
The Way to Happiness written by L. Ron Hubbard, is a common sense and non-religious moral code I try to live by. One of its precepts is:
“Support a government designed and run for all the people.”
It goes on to say:
“The way to happiness is hard to travel when shadowed with the oppression of tyranny. A benign government, designed and run for all the people, has been known to smooth the way: when such occurs, it deserves support.”
Hard to argue with that.
I hadn’t seen it, but it makes sense to me. I believe the Patriot Act was an over-reaction by a stunned Congress to the events of 9/11. I think most of our lawmakers didn’t even read it before it went through. Now no one wants to be seen as “soft on terrorism.” (Except maybe San Fran Nan Pelosi.) So the backpedaling away from the Patriot Act will be more covert, but I believe it is coming.