Just received an e-mail from ACLU
I want you to be the first to hear the best news for civil liberties that we've had in a long time. A federal court in Michigan has ruled that the Bush administration's NSA program to monitor the phone calls and e-mails of millions of Americans without warrants is unconstitutional and must be stopped. It's news of a stunning courtroom victory that your continuing support made possible.
I couldn't be more proud of lead counsel Ann Beeson and the rest of our legal team, including attorneys Jameel Jaffer and Melissa Goodman. As you know, the day that we learned about this massive and systematic spying, ACLU lawyers started working on this lawsuit. The hours and the blood, sweat and tears they have put into it have now paid off. Just as your support of this important work is paying off.
This ruling, in the first federal challenge ever argued against the president's program, is a landmark victory against the massive abuses of power that have become the hallmark of the Bush administration, and is a victory for all freedom-loving people in our country.
U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor declared that the NSA program violates not only Americans' rights to free speech and privacy under the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, but also the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) passed by Congress.
Judge Taylor summed it up perfectly when she wrote in her decision:
We must first note that the Office of the Chief Executive has itself been created, with its powers, by the Constitution. There are no hereditary Kings in America and no power not created by the Constitution.
You and the ACLU have been working so hard on this because you understand that this case is about more than putting an immediate end to the Bush administration's warrantless spying program; it is an important step in the battle to curb the government's abuses of power. Believe me, we could not have come this far without the effort and passion of all the ACLU members and activists. Your support on these issues has been invaluable. You are making a difference.
Now we need you to stand with us in our crucial efforts to hold the president accountable in the weeks and months to come as we gear up for the next battle to protect our rights, with two congressional committees poised for September votes to try to legalize this spying under Vice President Dick Cheney's supervision.
Instead of demanding that the President answer for breaking the law, Cheney and his allies want Congress to rewrite our laws to condone his behavior and give him and all future presidents a blank check to conduct domestic spying programs without individual warrants. Your efforts today are crucial to ensure that Congress doesn't undo this historic victory: http://action.aclu.org/site/R?i=V5Z6s-7nyYfEG2btqZKCBw..
Today, we are celebrating and analyzing this decision. Tomorrow there will be much work to do. Your involvement, belief in and support of our work has never been more important than right now.
From all of us at the ACLU, thank you for your partnership in all of our efforts.
Anthony D. Romero