Third Judge Rules Against Bush Administration

U.S. District Judge Garr King has joined the group of judges who have dismissed the government's argument that the State's Secrets privilege prevented any judicial rulings on the NSA Spying Program.

A Portland-based federal judge on Thursday refused to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Terrorist Surveillance Program -- just as President Bush was urging Congress to authorize it.


"The existence of the surveillance program is not a secret, the subjects of the program are not a secret and the general method of the program -- including that it is warrantless -- is not a secret," King wrote. "Where plaintiffs know whether their communications have been intercepted, no harm to national security would occur if plaintiffs are able to prove the general point that they were subject to surveillance."

This makes quite the run of judges that haven't given the government the leeway that it normally enjoys when national security issues are at stake. A few months ago the State's Secrets defense seemed like a significant hurdle to judicial review of the program. At this point, the process of nearly automatic deferral to the Executive in matters of national security has been entirely derailed. This can only mean the Federal Judiciary no longer has trust in the President.

Of course, Judge King is also a Clinton appointee, so I'm sure we'll soon learn that his legal reasoning is somehow faulty.

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