we got your warrant swinging

Breaking: Warrantless Wiretapping Has Been Illegal This Whole Time, Apparently

if you're not doing anything wrong, then why would you mind?Oh hi, judicial branch of the United States, how are you serving as a check or balance on the executive and legislative branches of government today? Why, by allowing the federal government to spy on Americans’ communications without warrants or exposure to lawsuits in order to keep us SAFE, of COURSE, which is exactly as the Constitution envisioned? Very good then!

The federal government may spy on Americans’ communications without warrants and without fear of being sued, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a decision reversing the first and only case that successfully challenged President George W. Bush’s once-secret Terrorist Surveillance Program.

“This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to hold the executive branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote. (.pdf)

Oh so warrantless wiretapping has actually been illegal this entire time? Learn something new every day! See, we were under the impression that it has been a sort of a Fourth Amendment free for all ever since 2001, because of Terrorism and Keeping Us Safe and everything, but it turns out, a warrant WAS required until sometime around yesterday afternoon. We’re sure that this is EXACTLY what the Founders had in mind when they wrote the Fourth Amendment, so kudos to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. 


About the author

Kris E. Benson writes about politics for Wonkette and is pursuing a doctorate in philosophy. This will come in handy for when they finally open that philosophy factory in the next town over. @Kris_E_Benson

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  1. One_who_wanders

    Who needs that silly old third branch of government restraining the rightful power of the Executive?

    1. Oblios_Cap

      I thought the 9th Circuit was overflowing with Lieberal Activist judges. What happened?

  2. BaldarTFlagass

    Meh, I only use a cell phone these days, and it doesn't have any wires to tap, so I can say whatever the hell I want on the phone.

  3. UnholyMoses

    Haven't you been paying attention? The only Amendments that matter are the 2nd and 10th.

    And maybe repealing the 13th and 14th.

    1. BigSkullF*ckingDog

      Don't forget to repeal the 19th because women are dumb an have periods and cooties.

      1. bikerlaureate

        They can have my cerebrospinal fluid when they suction it out of my cold, dead lumbars.

    1. widestanceromance

      How about just a little white ass slapping? Who am I kidding, if you slap it, you're gonna tap it.

  4. noodlesalad

    A conservative's guide to the Bill of Rights:
    1st – I have the right to hate you, to talk about that hate, and to get paid to talk about that hate. You have no right to complain about this.
    2nd – I have the right to kill you, dead, forever. You have no right to complain about this.
    3rd – You don't have to live with a soldier. You do have to refer to them as heroes now and forever.
    4th – If you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to hide.
    5th – Only guilty people use this one. And you're all guilty anyway.
    6th – You have the right to be put to death as quickly as possible for being any one or combination of the following: hippie/black/illegal/liberal commie/terrorist.
    7th – You can get a jury in Gitmo. You just won't know they're there.
    8th – Waterboarding is totes OK.
    9th – We can ignore any law that conflicts with our freedom to oppress you.

    1. elviouslyqueer

      And don't forget the important caveat/reminder:

      Fuck the remaining amendments, since they weren't what God and the Founding Fathers (with the exception of that godless intellectual slave-fucking asshole Thomas Jefferson) intended. USA USA USA USA USA, also.

  5. HogeyeGrex

    And this from those commies in the 9th Circuit, too.

    I guess we can just hold on to the fact that it's a good sign the plaintiffs haven't been extraordinarily rendered yet.

    They haven't, have they?

    1. shelwood46

      Of course not. According to the nice man in the suit, they're on a round-the-world cruise, on a boat with no phones, and they'll be back when you've forgotten they exist.

  6. Goonemeritus

    Well as long as we are tearing up amendments that second amendment looks like it will rip up real easy like.

    1. mlle_derp

      “Every nation that has ended in tyranny has come to that end by way of good order. It certainly does not follow from this that peoples should scorn public peace, but neither should they be satisfied with that and nothing more. A nation that asks nothing of government but the maintenance of order is already a slave in the depths of its heart; it is a slave of its well-being, ready for the man who will put it in chains.”
      ― Alexis de Tocqueville

    2. bikerlaureate

      Worse, it's usually "if it might make us safer…", since proof is such a pinko egghead concept anyway.

  7. Baconzgood

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. NOT!!!!!"


    1. emmelemm

      "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. NOT!!!!!"


  8. Ducksworthy

    They really should sue the Obama administration for doing what W. did if they want to limit Executive Branch power. Whats that acronym for "It OK if a Republican does it"? And is there a corollary that "Its treason if a blah Demonrat does it."

  9. PuckStopsHere

    In a related note, the Court also ruled that the right of citizens everywhere to get their asses shot off while attending a movie is absolute.

  10. PhilippePetain

    When our kids hear Cherry Pie and they ask what the band's name means, we will just cry and cry, and they will never know what they said that hurt us so.

    1. ChernobylSoup

      01100111 01101111 00100000 01110100 01101111 00100000 01101000 01100101 01101100 01101100

      (FBI uses computers for most of that kind of work)

    2. BoatOfVelociraptors

      Errbody knows they just build a parallel datacenter, make the service provider copy the traffic, and leave enough compute cycles on standby to decrypt anything interesting.

  11. sbj1964

    Yes but the chineese judges gave the 9th court of appeals a 8.7 even though they stuck the landing perfect.

  12. coolhandnuke

    Does this mean I can listen to Warrant really loud without the neighbors calling the cops?

  13. SayItWithWookies

    I can't wait until Dubya and all the assholes who unilaterally decided we didn't have any rights during his administration have croaked — it's going to be a great pee-on-their-graves road trip.

    (edited to fix abysmal syntax).

  14. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Actually, having skimmed the decision, what the court said was that Congress had made it impossible for you to sue over it, as they didn't waive sovereign immunity related to the wire taps. As such, you can't sue for damages.

    1. HistoriCat

      So it's illegal for them to wiretap but if they DO wiretap there are no consequences? Awesome.

  15. Blueb4sinrise



  16. Baconzgood

    What's the big deal? You only get dew process if you've already done somthing wrong. The government NEVER locks up innocent people, amIright?

  17. TribecaMike

    With that out of the way, the judges can move on to more pressing matters like why wizards, witches and presumably house-elves in the Harry Potter books celebrate Christmas.

  18. CrunchyKnee

    Haha, fuckwit founding fathers, your experiment didn't last very long.

    Now I will go drink.

    1. Generation[redacted]

      And woe be to those who refuse to quarter soldiers in their homes. That's just plain hating our troops.

    2. bikerlaureate

      I say they're post-regressive.

      If it was good enough for the Know-Nothings, gosh darn it…

  19. Generation[redacted]

    "Hi. I'm the government. You don't need the 1st, 4th, or 5th Amendment rights anymore. In fact, all you need is the 2nd Amendment, and that should be sufficient to protect you from any abuse of government power. Go ahead. Here's a gun. Pick it up. I double dog dare you."

  20. pinkocommi

    The government can still strip search me without a warrant, right? Because I LOVE being strip searched. Also.

  21. proudgrampa




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