In the first federal challenge ever argued against the Bush administration’s NSA spying program, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor rules that the program to monitor [sic] the phone calls and e-mails of millions of Americans without warrants is unconstitutional.
Hat tip to Declan McManus‘s email list. I think the word “monitor” is a little loaded here, but this decision is going to be a big deal.
UPDATE: I wrote in the comments on Dean’s World:
I will also add that when I read opinions (as I have done a little with this one) that mention King George, well, I don’t reach for my revolver exactly, but, well, that usually isn’t the sort of thing that District Court judges should spill a lot of ink on.
Evidently I was onto something:
Even legal experts who agreed with a federal judge’s conclusion on Thursday that a National Security Agency surveillance program is unlawful were distancing themselves from the decision’s reasoning and rhetoric yesterday.
They said the opinion overlooked important precedents, failed to engage the government’s major arguments, used circular reasoning, substituted passion for analysis and did not even offer the best reasons for its own conclusions.
Discomfort with the quality of the decision is almost universal, said Howard J. Bashman, a Pennsylvania lawyer whose Web log provides comprehensive and nonpartisan reports on legal developments.
“It does appear,” Mr. Bashman said, “that folks on all sides of the spectrum, both those who support it and those who oppose it, say the decision is not strongly grounded in legal authority.”