A federal judge’s ruling last week that the National Security Agency is operating within the law by collecting and storing American’s phone records has muddied the legal landscape. It reaches the opposite conclusion of a ruling by a different federal court just two weeks prior.
On Dec. 16, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon found the NSA program violated the Fourth Amendment. Last Friday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge William Pauley III said the program was a necessary tool to combat terrorism.
It’s worth noting that President Bill Clinton appointed Pauley, while President George W. Bush nominated Leon.
President Barack Obama or Congress could terminate or amend the NSA program, but neither is likely to act with such disparate rulings.
It’s obvious this case is headed for the U.S. Supreme Court.