Bush Warrantless Domestic Spying Program Ruled Unconstitutional
Interview with Michael Avery, president of the National Lawyers Guild, conducted by Scott Harris
Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the US district Court in Detroit, Mich. ruled in an Aug. 17 decision that President Bush's National Security Agency warrantless surveillance program was unconstitutional. Judge Diggs, who ordered the immediate termination of the program which monitored Americans' international phone and email communication, declared that the operation violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the U.S. Constitution and the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The Justice Department said it would appeal the decision, maintaining that the program was a valuable tool in preventing terrorist attacks.
The case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Washington and Detroit branches of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and Greenpeace.
President Bush's domestic spying program was first revealed by the New York Times in December 2005, after the paper delayed reporting the story for a year due to a White House request that it not be published.
In a move opposed by many civil liberties advocates, Sen. Arlen Specter, Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is proposing congressional legislation that would explicitly authorize the president's warrantless NSA wiretap program retroactively. Between The Lines spoke with Michael Avery, president of the National Lawyers Guild, who discusses Judge Diggs' decision and the ongoing struggle to defend the constitution.
Contact the National Lawyers Guild at (212) 679-5100 or visit their website at www.nlg.org
American Civil Liberties Union at www.aclu.org
Center for Constitutional Rights at www.ccr-ny.org
People for the American Way at www.pfaw.org
Electronic Privacy Information Center at www.epic.org
Electronic Frontier Foundation at www.eff.org
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