WASHINGTON — Sen. Lindsey Graham has had it with federal justices who use the Constitution to determine court rulings.
Appearing on CNN’s “Legal View” Tuesday morning, the maverick South Carolina Republican railed against a federal judge’s ruling that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records is unconstitutional, saying that the decision equates to a “green light for terrorist communication.”
“This is another case of a know-it-all judge letting personal feelings about the U.S. Constitution interfere with what is right for the American people,” ranted Graham.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Monday declared that the mass collection of metadata violates the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. While Leon’s preliminary ruling relates to only five specific cases, it clears the way for a fight that could lead all the way to the Supreme Court.
Earlier this year, Graham told “Fox & Friends” he is “glad” to grant the NSA access to his phone records if it helps the government do its job and said that people who have done nothing wrong have nothing to worry about.
“Judge Leon believes he is ruling in favor of the American people, but a decision like this shows that errant judges are nothing more than barriers to protecting America,” Graham told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield.
In his ruling, Leon noted that the government “does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA’s bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature.”
But Graham claimed that Leon “is failing to see the bigger picture.”
“So what if they haven’t stopped an ‘imminent’ attack? That’s proof that the NSA’s surveillance program is working. Maybe if they’d started doing this earlier, there would have been no 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. We could have seen the redcoats coming.”