U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor struck down the NSA program, saying it violates the rights to free speech and privacy. Furthermore, she declared that the program "violates the separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III."
Her ruling went on to say that "the president of the United States ... has undisputedly violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders."
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the Bush Administration disagrees with the ruling and has appealed. "We also believe very strongly that the program is lawful," he said in Washington, adding that the program is "reviewed periodically" by lawyers to determine its effectiveness and ensure lawfulness.
When this dispute first occurred a question asked but not with sufficient closure was the Bush Administration had not followed the very procedures it is now held to violate? In the post 9/11 blitz to approve national defense and military operations such a request would have been granted. If the Administration was sensitive about time delays it is probable that such approval would have been rushed and with little to no opposition, the president would have received what he had wanted.
What the United States and “the West” is fighting for in this War on Terror is the very civil liberties that Judge Taylor upheld. The idea that the people who govern are answerable to those they govern and not the other way around. The battles fought daily in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as on the Internet through hundreds of blogs is over ideas. Yes, people are dying, but people have been dying for ideas in time memoriam.
The best way for the Bush Administration to show our enemies that America is the “land of the free” is to accept the ruling. The president can still go to Congress and ask for such authority and with Republicans, controlling Congress, the Administration might have a better chance there than with activist judges.