In troubling times, it’s hard not to pin all of your hopes on the Judicial Branch of the government. My brain knows that the best way to achieve lasting change is to build political support for policies you agree with and then get them passed as laws in Congress. When judges overrule the popular will, it creates a political rift that often causes problems down the road. That said, the judiciary is often the best hope of the sane and enlightened.
In any case, I’m glad that Ann Aiken, a federal judge in Oregon, has decided that the fourth amendment of the Constitution still means what it meant before the Patriot Act was passed. Not only did she overturn the provisions of the Patriot Act that allowed the FBI to collect email and telephone records without a warrant, but she issued a nice, scolding opinion as well.
I’m certain the next stop will be the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where I expect her ruling to be upheld, and eventually the US Supreme Court, where I imagine her ruling will be overturned.