A common error exist in the assumption that when we are talking about the Obama administration we are not talking about the Bush administration and every administration before the two when examining the exploitation of its Executive authority. It was apparent that from the start the Bush administration sought to expand executive authority . It is this Pragmatic assertiveness that undermines .
U.S District Judge Audrey Collins ruled in favor of the defendant in the case of Humanitarian Law Project v. U. S on the grounds of a First Amendment and Fifth Amendment violation. This was the first legal decision against the titles of the Patriot Act the law suit was filed against the Justice Department. The judge ruled in favor of the Humanitarian Law Project granting them “enjoinment” the law enforcement actions.
MSNBC reported that on September of, 2004 Judge Victor Marrero of the U.S District Court struck portions of title X, II, and VI, in the case Gonzales v. John Doe that allowed the Bush administration to execute “National Security Letters” to secure secret customer records through Internet Service Providers and other businesses without a warrant this possess an infringement of the First Amendment, Fifth Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights. The courts ruled that a gag order placed on the NSL’s was “unconstitutional prior restraint” on freedom of speech. MSNBC reporter quoted Judge Marrero as saying another reason to halt the use of NSLs to communications firms was the worrisome potential for misuse. “For example, the FBI theoretically could issue to a political campaign’s computer systems operator a (letter) compelling production of the names of all persons who have e-mail addresses through the campaign’s computer systems,” he wrote. “The FBI theoretically could also issue an NSL (to learn) the identity of someone whose anonymous Web log, or ‘blog,’ is critical of the government.”
Judges do not share the sense of urgency and necessity for more executive power. In the case ACLU v. U.S, the ACLU filed several lawsuits against the U.S government last April they challenged the legality of The Nation Security Letters provisions of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, Which gives the acting FBI director or assistant FBI director of the FBI the right to seize private phone records. The ACLU won based the argument that it should take more than a subpoena from a government official to seize private information. The FBI counter there argument stating that they would only use those powers against known terrorist not regular criminal investigation.
Prior Administrations exercised a “restrained hand “ and tempered approach to pressing the envelope in its challenge to Congress on foreign policy. There is no precedent for this Monarchal “Executive Branch”.