SCOTUS's Warrantless Wiretapping Punt is a Win for America's Ruling Parties
October 11, 2012 6:00 PM
comment(s) - last by
SCOTUS, presidential nominees appear united: sometimes due process is just not convenient
In a ruling that has a deep impact on domestic surveillance in the short term, the
Supreme Court of the United States
to review a controversial
U.S. federal circuit appeals court decision
which upheld legal immunity provisions for telecoms who wiretap at the behest of the federal government.
I. President, Romney Unanimous in Support for Warrantless Wiretaps
Removing immunity would essentially leave telecoms unlikely to comply with warrantless requests, as they could be penalized in court by citizen lawsuits for following warrantelss data demands. The basis of U.S. criminal law for centuries has been cornered on obtaining warrants to investigate persons of interest. But over the past several decades, both parties have increasingly argued that
due process is inconvenient
and at times a threat to national security.
The two parties worked hand in hand to grant cooperating telecoms immunity from lawsuits via
"Protect America Act"
of 2007 (
Both Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney support throwing out due process (warrants) in cases where national security is viewed to be at risk -- a policy first put in place by Republican President George W. Bush (with bipartisan support from America's two ruling parties) in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
President Obama and his predecessor President Bush agree on many things, including that the federal government should be granted unregulated spying on its citizens.
[Image Source: WhiteHouse.gov]
Mr. Romney expressed a viewpoint narrowly in line with President Obama's plugging warrantless wiretaps in a recent interview (see below), stating, "If it means we have to go into a mosque to wiretap or a church, then that's exactly where we are gonna go, because we are going to do whatever it takes to protect the American people. And I hear from time to time people say, 'Hey, wait a sec, we have civil liberties to worry about', but don't forget... the most important civil liberty I expect from my government is my right to be kept alive."
In a statement on the SCOTUS ruling, President Obama marched in lock-step with his political rival, with his press office
Electronic surveillance for law enforcement and intelligence purposes depends in great part on the cooperation of the private companies that operate the nation's telecommunication system.
If litigation were allowed to proceed against those who allegedly assisted in such activities, the private sector might be unwilling to cooperate with lawful government requests in the future, and the possible reduction in intelligence that might result is simply unacceptable for the safety of our nation.
The SCOTUS did not explain why it made its decision to punt in this case. The only evidence that it made the decision at all is
a note in the case docket
stating the case will not be heard.
That silent nod to the prevailing sentiment on The Hill is
a win for America's two ruling parties
, who are unanimous in their belief that the right to "be kept alive" (by the government) mandates spying on citizens without due process now and then.
II. Opponents Continue to Fight on
Of course civil liberties advocacies like the
Electronic Frontier Foundation
(EFF), and a handful of politicians like
Rep. Ron Paul
He argues that the American political system has been hijacked by zealots,
, "The PATRIOT Act was written many, many years before 9/11, [the attacks simply provided] an opportunity for some people to do what they wanted to do..."
"Democracy isn't all that healthy in this country because if you're in a third party... you don't get in the debates... And if you ever come to the conclusion -- heaven forbid -- that the two parties aren't all that different, then what is left really?"
Ron Paul is one of the few politicians to support keeping due process, even in the face of the nebulous "terrorist" threat. [Image Source: NBC]
EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl concurs, adding:
By passing the retroactive immunity for the telecoms' complicity in the warrantless wiretapping program, Congress abdicated its duty to the American people. It is disappointing that... [the courts] endorsed the rights of telecommunications companies over those over their customers.
But in the current political climate voices like the EFF and Rep. Paul's are mere whispers in a sea of shouts of support. Without saying a word, the punt by America's most powerful federal court in effect adds one of the loudest voices yet in support of warrantless wiretaps, although it leaves the door open for later revision, should America's political climate drastically change.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: I agree with Paul
10/12/2012 11:25:48 AM
"When judges no longer provide quality control on wiretapping, the balance of powers is destroyed."
It already is. Corporate money has bought the executive and legislative branches. $5.8 BILLION is to be spent in 2012 campaigns with 2.5 BILLION to be spent in the presidential race alone. The only thing left at the federal level is the Supreme Court. At the state level, all branches are compromised since, in most cases, even judges have to be elected to be retained in their jobs.
"The next logical step is the use of wiretapping by one party to throw the other party in jail."
That will NEVER happen. BOTH parties know they'd be TOAST if EITHER allowed that sort of thing since they're BOTH corrupt.
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
Big Brother Get an Extension: House Passes Warrantless Wiretap Bill
September 13, 2012, 7:47 PM
U.S. Appeals Court Denies Citizens' Right to Sue Wiretapping Telecoms
January 2, 2012, 2:24 PM
BMW Unveils i3, i8 Electric Vehicle Concepts
July 29, 2011, 8:06 AM
House Passes Telecom Immunity Bill, Expands Domestic Spying Powers
June 21, 2008, 9:58 AM
iLate: CEO Tim Cook Says Apple Watch Will Ship in April
January 28, 2015, 3:03 PM
Amazon's Fire Sale on Fire Phone Steps up in UK w/ 1-Day Sale @ $150 Unlocked
January 28, 2015, 11:53 AM
Apple Sees Record Profit of $18 Billion, Sells 74.5 Million iPhones in Q1 FY2015
January 27, 2015, 6:01 PM
Apple Might Miss High-End of Analyst Estimates, Microsoft Earnings Hint
January 27, 2015, 3:14 PM
Microsoft Smartphone Sales Up 28 Percent as Lumia Budget Models Gain Ground
January 27, 2015, 8:30 AM
Quick Note: Special 20th Anniversary PlayStation 4 Raises $128,000 for Charity
January 26, 2015, 4:14 PM
Most Popular Articles
Google Fixes Homophobic "Bug" in its Translator
January 27, 2015, 2:31 PM
Ancient Aliens? 11.2 Billion Year Old Solar System Discovered
January 29, 2015, 12:09 PM
Under the Hood: How DirectX 11.3 and 12 Will Supercharge Windows 10 Gaming
January 23, 2015, 12:34 PM
Dual-Motor Tesla Model S P85D's "Insane Mode" Shocks Passengers
January 28, 2015, 11:18 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information