22 March, 2011

Good news on the rule of law

The Bush administration had considerable success in stopping review of its actions by claiming that those who couldn't prove they had been under surveillance, or otherwise affected by secret executive actions, had no standing to bring a case before the court.  The Obama administration, despite the candidate's pledge to stop this practice, has taken it and run with it.

At least in the area of warrantless eavesdropping there is some good news.  A unanimous three-judge appellate court has ruled, in a case involving political activists, that there is a reasonable fear of surveillance, and real harm.  They ruled that the plaintiffs' fear is reasonable given the sweeping powers the FISA law vests gives the president, and this allows them to challenge the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments

This is a note of sanity in response to an otherwise insane doctrine. Just because you do something in secret shouldn't mean that nobody can sue you over it.

For a more detailed analysis, see Glenn Greenwald in Salon.

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