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News Link • Surveillance

Is the NSA's Spying Constitutional? It Depends On Which Judge You Ask

• Andrew Cohen, The Atlantic

This is why we have a justice system in which lower-court conflicts rise up for resolution by a single, supreme court. This is why the law can seem, at times, to be a "same planet, different world" proposition to those who don't follow it closely (and even to those of us who do).

We have, in the span of just 10 days, seen two diametrically opposed judicial rulings about the legitimacy of the government's controversial bulk metadata collection program, the existence of which we learned about just this past year thanks to Edward Snowden. Although the two opinions apply the same law and essentially the same facts, they are so contradictory they cannot be reconciled. One judge will be proven right and the other proven wrong, although I suspect it may be 2015  before the final tally is recorded.

Last week, a federal trial judge in Washington boldly declared the NSA's bulk metadata collection program to be "likely unconstitutional," as applied to individual citizens whose phone records were collected and stored. Here is the link to that ruling,

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