Judge knocks down part of Patriot Act

An Oregon judge on Wednesday ruled that two provisions of the Patriot Act violated the U.S. Constitution’s protection against unlawful searches and seizures.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled in favor of Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer wrongly arrested by the FBI in 2004 for possible ties to the Madrid train bombings, who challenged the secret searches of his home and office.

The judge said the amendments made by the Patriot Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allows the government to conduct searches and monitor American citizens without probable cause, which is typically required by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“The defendant here is asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. This court declines to do so,” Aiken wrote in her ruling.

In Washington, Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said, “We are reviewing the decision, and while we have no further comment, we are reviewing all our options.”

Aiken’s ruling is the second legal blow delivered to the Patriot Act in less than a month. A district judge in New York said a provision in the Patriot Act that requires people who are formally contacted by the FBI for information to keep it a secret is unconstitutional.

The anti-terror Patriot Act, enacted by Congress after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, expanded the rights of law enforcement agencies and eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering.


  1. Donnat

    A word of thanks
    to all the brave Americans who have been wrongfully targeted by this shameful “Act” and are not afraid to stand up and fight back.

    You have my admiration and gratitude. Brick by brick, the wall of corruption of the Bush Administration is coming down thanks to folks like you.

  2. SEAL

    My understanding is that the members of congress couldn’t break away from their fundraising events long enough to read the Patriot Act before voting on it. The damn thing is about a foot thick and would take a month to read to the point of understanding.

    It’s amazing that the creators wrote that much that quick isn’t it? From what I hear, the Act had been written years before and was being held by Cheney and Rumsfeld, waiting for its opportunity to be used to strip americans of their rights.

    Our government has deteriorated to the point where almost none of the elected representatives give a tinkers damn about the citizens, the Constitution, the welfare of the nation, or anything other than that which benefits them personally.

    The elctoral system that used to be trhee months of campaigning just before elections now requires that incuments must spend more time fund raising than doing their job in order to keep their job. The candidate with the most money wins. I read somewhere a while back that the average congress member spends 8 hours a week on the job. That must be a tiring 8 hours.

    Oddly, it doesn’t seem to bother the voters that each and every one of the members of congress is very to extremely wealthy but virtually none of them were worth anything, most heavily in debt from elction expense, the day they were initially elected to their first office. They must be the most frugal spendthrifts in the world considering the salaries they are paid. But for the life of me I can’t figure out how a man making $127,000 a year with a family, an escort service, and two residences to support becomes a millionaire in just 4 years. Not legally, anyway.

    Considering all of the above, I guess I can understand why I should not expect any of them to actually read something before voting on it and why the Patriot Act became law. It’s in good company, though. Most of our laws are unconstitutional. Or, should that be “bad” company.