Remember Brandon Mayfield?  He’s a Portland Attorney that the FBI mistakenly thought was involved in the Madrid train bombing in 2004.  Of course they did finally admit that they were wrong about him and let him go.  However, before they arrested him, they had him under surveillance, tapped his phone and searched his home and office under a Patriot Act provision that allows law enforcement to get a search warrant without showing probable cause first.

Well, when the whole mess was over he filed suit.  Today a federal judge handed down a ruling that two provisions of the Patriot Act are unconstitutional because:

the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, “now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment.”

There’s been other lawsuits over the Patriot Act and people have won several of them but this is the biggest hit against it yet because it’s a clear constitutional issue.  I predict that given this opening, there will be more such lawsuits over the Patriot Act and Congress will be forced to take a good long look at the thing and make some changes to bring it back in to line with the Constitution.  Which in my opinion is going to mean deleting most of it, this whole business of no warrants or warrants issued by secret courts without probable cause is flat out wrong.

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