Just to Clarify

A New York Times story out on Judge Leon has me quoted as saying:

“He’s very passionate,” said Orin S. Kerr, a professor at the George Washington University Law School and a defender of the N.S.A.’s surveillance programs, who said he found the judge’s ruling short “on legal reasoning.”

Just to be clear, I told the reporter that this specific opinion was passionate, not that Judge Leon is passionate. The reporter specifically asked me if I thought Judge Leon was passionate, and I declined to answer on the ground that I didn’t know Judge Leon or his decisions well enough to feel comfortable characterizing him or his work as a whole.

Second, I am not a defender of the NSA’s surveillance program. Contrary to the reporter’s characterization, I think this program violates the FISA statute. I just happen to think that the program is consistent with existing Fourth Amendment precedent; it is fine under the Constitution but is hard to square with the statutory text.

UPDATE: The reporter contacted me and explained that the problem was in the editing process; the original version made clear that I was commenting just on the opinion, but that was lost in the editing process.

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