UPDATE: News story: “DETROIT – A federal judge has ruled that the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program violates the Constitution.”

Read it here. Even though you’ve already read it. That one sentence really is the whole story. Maybe Yahoo will add more to it later?

UPDATE: U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor made the ruling, and has ordered an immediate stop to the NSA’s warrantless domestic surveillance program.

UPDATE #2, 8/23/06: CNN has a comprehensive report here.

UPDATE #3, 8/26/06: An article from the Washington Times, July 17, reports that President Bush has been blocking Congressional attempts to review the program.

Still reading? OK, here’s my take: It’s about time. However, I see this one being appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, who will strike it down. As a consolation, it’s good to know that Americans who still believe in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights have a voice somewhere in government. It certainly isn’t in the White House, since our President feels he has the equivalent of a line-item veto to void the parts of the laws he signs that he doesn’t like.

The government lawyers handing this case argue that warrantless surveillance is well within Presidential authority, but it would require that state secrets be divulged in order to prove it. On those grounds, they want the case to be dismissed. To which I respond: The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the foundation of our system of government. If the Executive Branch is authorized to spy on Americans, it’ll be in one of these two documents. If it isn’t there, the President’s actions are (watch my lips) un-con-sti-tu-tion-al. Unless, of course, some group is running a secret government behind the scenes. Which, if true, brings us back to the Declaration of Independence (my emphases):

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

I am often reminded of an old Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.

The opinions expressed in Steve’s Peeves are intended to entertain and uplift. They may not be appropriate for young readers or the satirically challenged. Parental supervision is advised.

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