Another excellent post on Alexander Higgins’ blog reveals that the US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California has ruled that the government is completely immune from any possible punishment for violating the Fourth Amendment, which supposedly protects US citizens against illegal search and seizure.
While fully acknowledging the government’s spying and collecting of personal information using warrantless wiretapping is completely illegal and in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the court ruled that this is an issue for Congress to deal with. (??? The last time I read the the Constitution, it stated explicitly that the power to rule on unconstitutional behavior by government rested with the judicial branch of government).
In essence the ruling provides immunity to both the federal government and state and local law enforcement officials who engage in illegal searches and seize information without a warrant.
The ruling reverses a 2010 finding by a San Francisco federal the the federal government owed the now-defunct Islamic Foundation $40,800 in damages and $2.5 million in legal fees for wireless wiretapping the Bush administration engaged in to monitor their activities. The Obama administration appealed the verdict.
Read more here.