Friday, May 26, 2006

Libertarians Party To Suit

The Libertarian Party of Indiana announced that it is party to a class action lawsuit in response to NSA interactions with telecommunications compaines. From the LPIN press release:

[T]he Libertarian Party of Indiana is a plaintiff to the lawsuit filed in Indiana and U.S. courts today against a group of telecommunications companies, including the nation's largest service providers.

The class-action lawsuit challenges the telecommunications companies illegal actions in permitting the National Security Agency ("NSA") and affiliated governmental agencies to intercept, monitor and conduct surveillance on their customers' wireline and wireless calls and internet communications without proper authorization.

“This is worse than McCarthyism,” [LPIN Chair Mark] Rutherford said. “These searches are so broad that people with absolutely no relationship with terrorists have had their phone records searched.”

While the LPIN is a state organization that has focused on state and local issues because our candidates run for state and local office, we have not lost sight of issues that affect Hoosiers that are outside the scope of those state and local offices.

The full release can be viewed on the Libertarian Party of Indiana's webpage.


Kevin said...

Why is this a good idea? Even if this suit is successful nothing will change. What a gigantic waste of resources!

Mike Kole said...

You'll have to explain two things for me:

1. If the suit is successful, how is it that nothing will change?

2. What resources are being wasted? A gigantic waste might mean the LPIN throwing $100,000 down the rathole. What is it you're pointing to?

Michael said...

A waste? Not likely. It places the LPIN exactly where they should the forefront of the battle for individual liberty and the reigning in of the government and their increasingly intrusive incursions into our lives.
The LPIN will garner valuable publicity, at the least with civil libertarians across the political spectrum. The LPIN's signing onto this suit has already generated buzz and congratulations in the blogosphere. Letting folks know where you stand is something the LP (at all levels) has been remiss in, over the last few years. This just goes back to the fact that the LP is the party of principle and is willing to take a stand on theirs. Good for us!

Kevin said...

I could not disagree more. The last I heard the party was not all that rich to begin with. $1000 would be too much. $100 is too much. Where is the evidence that any law was even broken? When I was in the auto repossession business we were able to buy the same info. I say nothing will change because even if the court decides that laws were broken, they will still break them, and there will be no consequences. If this means I have to turn in my LP membership than so be it, but sometimes we worry about the silliest things.

Mark W. Rutherford said...

The use of resources for this lawsuit is primarily the time of certain LPIN officials, which has been and is expected to be minimal. The financial costs will be some postage.

There are eleven plaintiffs in the lawsuit and we are working with established law firms who do these class action lawsuits. They are very experienced.

As a lawyer, I'm very familiar with these lawsuits, and know that the costs to each individual plaintiffs are minimal when it comes to out of pocket cash, and at the most a few hours of time working with the lawyers on strategic decisions, helping the lawyers comply with discovery requests and maybe being deposed.

My guess is that the out of pocket expenses in cash for the LPIN will be about $50 when the case is finally resolved. This will be spread over about two years.

I'm very proud that the Central Committee chose to be a part of this lawsuit. The fight against the renewal of McCarthyism in this country warrants action from all fronts.

Mark W. Rutherford said...

I made an assumption as an attorney in my last comments.

Let me be very clear. The attorneys for the LPIN are taking this matter on a contigency basis. What this means is that they only get paid if the LPIN is successful. No fees will be owed to them if they are not successful.

Also, I'm not one of the attorneys on the case and am doing no work on the case except as the Chairman of the organization that is a plaintiff. I'll receive no compensation for this - but am willing to put some time into it because of the fight against the renewal of McCarthyism in this country.

Mark W. Rutherford said...

Around 1990, the Libertarian Party of Indiana successfully sued the State of Indiana in federal court over the prohibition of write-in candidates in Indiana election law.

In May 2006, two school board candidates in Knox County were elected as write-in candidates.

If it hadn't been for the LPIN (or someone else coming forward), these candidates would not have been able to run for office and get elected when circumstances required it.

Timothy West said...


Super deal. I like it a lot.

To affect change in how our government is trampling our civil liberties and privacy, we must force the hands of their all-to-willing big corporation partners.

Dan has it NAILED 100%. This the way to go for the LP. We take this political direction, we start to break out. We dont, and keep debating on how all roads must be privatized, we dont.

Timothy West said...

sorry for typo, damn hand is not working, and the brain is not much better :)

Mike Kole said...

Tim- Actually, in this state, talking about road privatization puts you square on the center of the map, but I know what you mean.

Also, it should have occurred to me to remember this sooner, but as Chair of the Libertarian Party of Hamilton County, I was party to a lawsuit against the Town of Fishers for its' prohibitions against political signage more than 30 days outside an election. The case was taken by a firm that was paid only if they won, just as Mark Rutherford describes above.