Friday, August 18, 2006

Justice Department appeals wiretap ruling; Judge allows program to continue

No surprise here. Yesterday's ruling striking down the NSA's warrantless wiretap program has already been appealed by the Bush Administration. The judge has allowed the program to continue until a Sept. 7 hearing on the issue.

And sadly, here is another "no surprise" bit of news. The judge in the case, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of U. S. District Court in Detroit, is already being attacked by the GOP.

The New York Times reports:
Republicans said the decision was the work of a liberal judge advancing a partisan agenda. Judge Taylor, 73, worked in the civil rights movement, supported Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign and was appointed to the bench by him in 1979. She was the first black woman to serve on the Detroit federal trial court.
On the other hand, Taylor's reputation and judicial record appears to be anything but partisan. The Times reports:
She has ruled for the A.C.L.U. in a lawsuit challenging religious displays on municipal property. But she has also struck down a Detroit ordinance favoring minority contractors. "Her reputation is for being a real by-the-books judge," said Evan H. Caminker, the dean of the University of Michigan Law School.
The warrantless program is an end run around current procedures that allow law enforcement officials to get warrants through a secret court. The court, which was created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act or FISA, has granted all but a handful of warrants.

The New York Times article has a graphic explaining the FISA process. Look in the left column, just above the picture of Judge Taylor.

Our commentary on Judge Taylor's ruling includes:

NSA wiretap ruling helps U.S. reclaim its soul

"There are no hereditary kings in America."

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