Tag Archives: Judge Andrew Napolitano

NSA Metadata Collection Has Come To An ‘Official End’

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2015– When the clock struck 12:00 AM on Thanksgiving weekend’s Sunday morning, the National Security Agency (NSA) was forced to end virtually all metadata collection of phone calls made in the United States. Key word: virtually.

In June, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, which was signed by President Obama. The legislation vested the responsibility of data collection and storage with telecom companies, rather than a government agency.

Still, on both sides of the issue, some remain skeptics of the USA Freedom Act.

Judge Andrew Napolitano says nothing substantial has changed and that claims made by politicians that a ‘court order’ is needed under the USA Freedom Act, whereas one was not previously required, are misleading.

“When politicians tell you that the NSA needs a court order in order to listen to your phone calls or read your emails, they are talking about a FISA court order that is based on government need- not a constitutional court order, which can only be based on probable cause,” said Napolitano. “This is an insidious and unconstitutional bait and switch.”

However, even the most minuscule changes within the USA Freedom Act were enough for United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to fight against until the very last moments. The two attempted to use the Paris terror attacks as warrant for extending and strengthening the current NSA spy program.

Meanwhile, United States Congressman Justin Amash (R-Mich.) was an original co-sponsor of the legislation, but backed out of supporting the bill and actually voted against the final version because it was stripped down and “looked little like the original bill” he had worked to draft and lobby for.

Amash posted a lengthy explanation on Facebook in May:

“I am an original cosponsor of the Freedom Act, and I was involved in its drafting. At its best, the Freedom Act would have reined in the government’s unconstitutional domestic spying programs, ended the indiscriminate collection of Americans’ private records, and made the secret FISA court function more like a real court—with real arguments and real adversaries.

I was and am proud of the work our group, led by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, did to promote this legislation, as originally drafted.

However, the revised bill that makes its way to the House floor this morning doesn’t look much like the Freedom Act.

This morning’s bill maintains and codifies a large-scale, unconstitutional domestic spying program. It claims to end “bulk collection” of Americans’ data only in a very technical sense: The bill prohibits the government from, for example, ordering a telephone company to turn over all its call records every day.

But the bill was so weakened in behind-the-scenes negotiations over the last week that the government still can order—without probable cause—a telephone company to turn over all call records for “area code 616” or for “phone calls made east of the Mississippi.” The bill green-lights the government’s massive data collection activities that sweep up Americans’ records in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

The bill does include a few modest improvements to current law. The secret FISA court that approves government surveillance must publish its most significant opinions so that Americans can have some idea of what surveillance the government is doing. The bill authorizes (but does not require) the FISA court to appoint lawyers to argue for Americans’ privacy rights, whereas the court now only hears from one side before ruling.

But while the original version of the Freedom Act allowed Sec. 215 of the Patriot Act to expire in June 2015, this morning’s bill extends the life of that controversial section for more than two years, through 2017.

I thank Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte for pursuing surveillance reform. I respect Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner and Rep. John Conyers for their work on this issue.

It’s shameful that the president of the United States, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the leaders of the country’s surveillance agencies refuse to accept consensus reforms that will keep our country safe while upholding the Constitution. And it mocks our system of government that they worked to gut key provisions of the Freedom Act behind closed doors.

The American people demand that the Constitution be respected, that our rights and liberties be secured, and that the government stay out of our private lives. Fortunately, there is a growing group of representatives on both sides of the aisle who get it. In the 10 months since I proposed the Amash Amendment to end mass surveillance, we’ve made big gains.

We will succeed.”

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Judge Napolitano: States Cannot ‘Refuse’ Refugees Under Federal Law

While governors in at least 30 states have responded to recent terrorist attacks in Paris by saying that their states will not accept Syrian refugees, their refusal of refugees may not agree with federal law.

Judge Andrew Napolitano, the senior judicial analyst for Fox News, told Stuart Varney on Fox Business Networks’s “Varney & Co.” on Tuesday that while governors can legally say they don’t want to accept refugees, they can’t legally interfere with the process under federal law.

[pull_quote_center]They can legally say what they want, but they can’t really interfere with what the federal government does. I say this because my heart is with the governors, but nevertheless, the court has ruled that the admission of immigrants – whether for humanitarian purposes, political asylum purposes, or pursuant to the quotas that we have – is strictly a federal function.[/pull_quote_center]

As of Tuesday night, 31 states have opposed acceptance of Syrian refugees. Out of those states, which “range from Alabama and Georgia, to Texas and Arizona, to Michigan and Illinois, to Maine and New Hampshire,” only one does not have a Republican governor, which is New Hampshire.

[POLL: Should the United States Accept Syrian Refugees?]

Napolitano noted that President Obama currently has the same authority President George W. Bush had in 2005, when he had the power to accept migrants during the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan with “no numerical cap.”

“In 2005, in response to the wave of migrants from the invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Congress gave President George W. Bush unlimited – by which I mean there’s no numerical cap – authority to admit people for humanitarian purposes,” Napolitano said. “President Obama has that authority.”

Varney asked whether the states can say, “no, we’re not paying for this,” if they are forced to take in refugees.

“Here’s the way it would work,” Napolitano replied. “The president orders the Department of Homeland Security to admit people to federal facilities located within the states. If these people leave the federal facility, then they are entitled to the same social safety net that the states make available to everybody. That’s public schooling, housing assistance, living assistance.”

[RELATED: Reality Check: U.S. Policies In Middle East Responsible For Refugee In Europe]

Napolitano noted that the issue of accepting refugees from countries such as Syria, is different than the predicament the U.S. was in, in 2012, when President Obama signed a series of executive orders saying, “we’re going to admit large numbers of undocumented children, and we’re going to let those who are already here, stay here.”

Napolitano said that while the states were convinced at the time that it was a way of Obama forcing them to spend money, “that we haven’t budgeted and that we don’t have, to sew into a plan that he concocted that was rejected by the Congress,” this is a different scenario.

“Here, he has the absolute lawful authority – may not like the way he’s exercising it, but he has it,” Napolitano said, “to admit people for political asylum and humanitarian purposes.”

[pull_quote_center]The concept of immigration, naturalization, foreign affairs, is not a state issue under our system. The federal government trumps the states, even though by doing it, it can force the states to spend money that they don’t want to spend, for a cause that’s not politically popular.[/pull_quote_center]

Judge Napolitano Blasts Donald Trump On Immigration Plans

In response to presidential candidate Donald Trump’s recent proposals for immigration reform including ending birthright citizenship, Judge Andrew Napalitano clarified what Trump can and cannot do if he is elected president.

Trump told Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet The Press that as president, he would nullify President Obama’s executive orders on immigration. Trump promised to deport illegal immigrants but allow a faster process for “the good ones” to return.

He also vowed to end birthright citizenship for American-born children of illegal immigrants. Birthright citizenship, Trump said, is the “biggest magnet” for illegal immigration. “What they’re doing, they’re having a baby. And then all of a sudden, nobody knows,” Trump said.

“We’re going to keep the families together, we have to keep the families together,” Trump declared. “But they have to go. They have to go.”

“We will work with them,” Trump said to Todd, who asked what might happen to the families who have nowhere to go.

Trump’s website outlines several more proposals including a nationwide e-verify, tripling the number of ICE officers and billing Mexico for the cost of building a U.S./Mexico border wall.

Napolitano agreed that Trump could rescind Obama’s executive order. “But what he can’t do is the impractical or the unconstitutional,” he added.

“Every person in the United States illegally, that a President Trump would want to deport, is entitled to a hearing and an appeal. That’s between 11 and 13 million hearings and appeals. The most the United States has ever conducted in a year- it’s a good number- is 250,000,” Napalitano said. “So do the math, you’re talking about a couple generations before all these hearings and appeals could be heard.” Napalitano noted that taxpayers would be footing the bill for every hearing and appeal.

Napolitano went on to dismiss Trump’s proposal to end birthright citizenship as unconstitutional. “He wants to deport children born here because their mothers were illegal. That’s prohibited by the Constitution,” he said. “The Constitution says, very clearly, whoever is born here- no matter the intent of the parents- is a citizen. A natural born citizen. He could not change that. Even if he were to change the Constitution, it wouldn’t affect people already born here, it would only affect people not yet born,” Napalitano said.

Napalitano also shared his perspective on the idea of building a wall between Mexico and the United States, and responded to the Hillary Clinton’s joke about Snapchat’s ability to automatically delete messages in light of the federal investigation of her emails. Watch below:

For more election coverage, click here.

VIDEO: Former NSA Director Heckled for Calling Himself a “Libertarian”

Gen. Michael Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency, was called out on Friday by audience members, after he called himself a “libertarian” at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Hayden attended the conference for a debate with Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News. Hayden’s comments followed comments by Napolitano saying that the audience should be “outraged” by the NSA’s massive surveillance program.

In reply, Hayden said, “If NSA were even capable of doing what the judge has just outlined for you, we wouldn’t be having a debate here today. There would be nothing to argue about.

Hayden continued, “Let’s talk about reality. Let’s talk about factsThe judge is an unrelenting libertarian.”

Hayden’s comment about Napolitano was met with applause and cheers from the crowd.

So am I,” Hayden said. “I’m an unrelenting libertarian who’s also responsible for four decades of his life for another important part of that document, the part that says ‘provide for the common defense.’”

The tone of the audience quickly changed, following Hayden’s second comment, and members booed, and shouted out,”No, you’re not!

Can the States beat the feds? Judge Napolitano on Nullification

Can we ever reclaim liberty from our insidious creature? Decentralization of power is the key, and the feds have known it for quite some time. The Tenth Amendment is salvation. At its core, the mechanism to reclaim our power.

It’s an old clip, but it deserves reintroduction. Listen to Judge Andrew Napolitano on nullification.

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Nurse Kaci Hickox Will Not Comply With Additional 21-Day Home Quarantine

Kaci Hickox, a nurse who was deemed at risk for carrying the Ebola virus and quarantined in a tent in New Jersey, is refusing to comply with an additional 21-day home quarantine at her residence in Maine and vowed to fight the quarantine policy in court if necessary.

Hickox returned to the United States last week after spending five weeks caring for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. After arriving in New Jersey on last Friday, Hickox was isolated in a tent against her will at Newark’s University Hospital, although she tested negative for Ebola. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie defended the decision to mandate Hickox’s quarantine, saying “I don’t believe when you’re dealing with something as serious as this that we can count on a voluntary system. This is government’s job. If anything else, the government job is to protect safety and health of our citizens.”

Hickox has since returned to her home in Maine and said she will not abide by Maine’s quarantine policy, which is classified as voluntary although the state of Maine is prepared to enforce it.

Although Hickox said that she’s been exercising caution and avoiding contact with people, she has held to her reasoning that remaining in quarantine is “not scientifically nor constitutionally just.”

“You know, I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines. I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me, even though I am in perfectly good health and feeling strong and have been this entire time completely symptom free. I’m thankful to be out of the tent in Newark, but I found myself in yet another prison, just in a different environment,” Hickox told Matt Lauer.

Lauer told Hickox about a statement from Maine’s Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, which read that the state may “pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers.”

Hickox maintained that “reasonable steps”, including self-monitoring measures like testing body temperature twice a day and undergoing testing upon appearance of symptoms, have been made by her and other health care workers. “These policies have worked in the past,” said Hickox.

When asked why she opposes quarantines, Hickox responded that “I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I’m not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.”

“Are you prepared to take legal action, not only against the state of New Jersey, but now the state of Maine if they decide to enforce this quarantine period?” asked Lauer.

“I’m not talking about New Jersey right now, but if the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom,” Hickox replied.

Hickox’s attorney, Norman Seigel, added that the state of Maine has “no justification to quarantine Kaci” and echoed that they would challenge any court orders from Maine.

Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on The Kelley File on Fox News Monday and said that it’s the responsibility of the government to prove that a person poses a public health risk. “We don’t have group guilt in America. We don’t have group punishment in America,” said Napolitano. “When the person confined challenges their confinement, the burden of proof, the obligation of demonstrating the propriety of the confinements, which is to the governments. And the government did not have any evidence with which to keep her confined once she challenged it.”

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