(pictured above: Attorney Brandon Mayfield with his wife Mona(bottom left), Attorney Elden Rosenthal(bottom right))
Federal Judge Rules Two Provisions of the Patriot Act Unconstitutional
It took nearly a decade, but a Portland attorney and his legal team appear to have accomplished what many were beginning to think was impossible. They challenged the constitutionality of two provisions of the Patriot Act…and won.
Brandon Mayfield was placed under surveillance, by the FBI approximately two weeks after the 2004 Madrid train bombings. Over time, his house was raided, his personal property was confiscated, and he was jailed for two weeks. The information the Bureau used to justify their actions, “100% verified” fingerprints from a bag of detonators the day of the bombing, turned out to be inaccurate.
The FBI released Brandon Mayfield, paid him $2 million, and issued a formal apology to him and his family. However, Mayfield maintained the right to challenge the constitutionality of the provisions of the Patriot Act used to authorize his monitoring and detention.
Wednesday morning, Judge Ann Aiken sided with Brandon, and ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment.”
"For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law — with unparalleled success. A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised," she wrote.
By asking her to dismiss Mayfield’s lawsuit, the judge said, the U.S. attorney general’s office was “asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. This court declines to do so.”
Elden Rosenthal, an attorney for Mayfield, issued a statement on his behalf praising the judge, saying she “has upheld both the tradition of judicial independence, and our nation’s most cherished principle of the right to be secure in one’s own home.”
(images courtesy of AP/Register Guard)
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