Parts of PATRIOT Act Declared Unconstitutional

In yesterday’s Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Turley blasted President Obama’s record on civil liberties:

Historically, this country has tended to correct periods of heightened police powers with a pendulum swing back toward greater individual rights. Many were questioning the extreme measures taken by the Bush administration, especially after the disclosure of abuses and illegalities. Candidate Obama capitalized on this swing and portrayed himself as the champion of civil liberties.

However, President Obama not only retained the controversial Bush policies, he expanded on them. The earliest, and most startling, move came quickly.

Today brought better news. MSNBC reports that the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon struck down two PATRIOT Act provisions dealing with probable cause-less searches. The case centered around Brandon Mayfield, an attorney in Portland, was falsely linked to the 2004 Madrid bombings.

Mayfield was arrested and fingerprinted. His fingerprint was falsely matched to a print found in Madrid. After that, the FBI put him “under 24-hour surveillance, listened to his phone calls and surreptitiously searched his home and law office.” This, according to Judge Ann Aiken, crossed the line.

Two provisions down, many more to go. Until then, President Bush’s third term continues.