We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Any infingement of our constitutional rights is of course unconstitutional. And yet with the very clear wording of the 2nd amendment states and cities still think they have a right to usurp our rights. Where are the fedeal judges on this much more important question?
As for NSA they have been doing this kind of thing for 50 plus years. Now doubt more egregious now then before. So lets assume that there are terrible people in the world with terrible weapons and these people want us gone/dead/destroyed. Not a stretch of yur imagination. So what should our government do to protect us if the alternative is the death and destruction of our entire nation? Is listening in on foriegners phone calls acceptable? It is legal and constitutional? Is listening in on a phone call where one of the callers is a foriegner in a foriegn land but at least on is in the U.S. acceptable? A federal court has already ruled this is legal. Is collecting and storing the meta-data legal? All of the phone companies do it and in fact have to do it. So is it illegal for the NSA to simply store this data in the event it could be useful to prevent a attack or to identify the attackers after the attack? I'm not sure why not? Is there much more that NSA does that crosses the line much more significantly then these examples? Sure. But then finally you must get to the question of can the government protect us from destruction or is the constitution actually a mutual suicide pact? That is if we could stop China or Russia or North Korea or Iran etc. from nuking us into a pile of glowing magma but to do so was technically unconstitutional should we stop them or honor the intent of the constitution? For al of you who still say NSA must stop then answer one simple question: Where were you when states and cities stepped all over the 2nd amendment something that is clearly a much more outrageous unconstitutional act for a far less important reason (i.e. they don't want citizens to have guns).
Indeed. We all seem to reflexively side with the Brennan and Marshall dissents in Smith v. Maryland, but it is the majority in that case that is still binding precedent.
If this judge made a compelling case that the current facts make Smith v. Maryland not relevant, or that it was clear that Smith v. Maryland was wrongly decided, it might be different. But for now and since 1979 it has been the case that what numbers you talk to on the phone, and when and for how long, are available to police without a warrant.
It's quite constitutional to spy on foreigners, it's not so to spy on US citizens.
Where the NSA tried to blur things is by claiming that the data they get on US citizens is an unintentional by product of the data they get on foreigners (data on US phones abroad, US citizens using foreign phones, etc.) and therefore they can't be held responsible for it.
Which is shaky, but I can see congress giving them a pass on it.