“Personal Security Is As Important As National Security”

At least one judge in the United States has his “values” in the right order. On September 29, 2004 U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero showed a great deal of wisdom in striking down a part of the so called “Patriot Act” in the US. In his ruling, the wise judge “declared that personal security is as important as national security.”

This is the very basis of what the Founding Fathers of the United States envisioned when they drafted up the Constitution:

“It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice;” – Thomas Paine

And again, Thomas Paine may as well have said “20th and 21st century politicians” instead of “Grecians” and “Romans” when he wrote, “The Grecians and Romans were strongly possessed of the spirit of liberty but not the principle, for at the time they were determined not to be slaves themselves, they employed their power to enslave the rest of mankind.”

The Patriot Act is a pretty scary piece of legislation that would give enormous powers to authorities to obtain information, lock people up without trials, and generally act against citizens and residents without any safeguards. In this particular case, The American Civil Liberties Union acted on behalf of an unnamed ISP that had received a letter from the FBI directing them to turn over customer information, and then bar the ISP from ever divulging that information was turned over.

According to CNN:

“The judge said the law violates the Fourth Amendment because it bars or deters any judicial challenge to the government searches, and violates the First Amendment because its permanent ban on disclosure is a prior restraint on speech.

He noted that the Supreme Court recently said that a “state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation’s citizens.”

“Sometimes a right, once extinguished, may be gone for good,” Marrero wrote.

[…]

Jaffer, the ACLU lawyer, said the government had turned over as part of the lawsuit a six-page document showing it had obtained Internet or telephone records dozens and possibly hundreds of times.

Dozens and possibly hundreds of times!

Thank you, wise Judge Victor Marrero. As well as Tom Paine, Ben Franklin would have approved: “It is very imprudent to deprive America of any of her privileges. If her commerce and friendship are of any importance to you, they are to be had on no other terms than leaving her in the full enjoyment of her rights.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

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