Judge questions 'carte blanche' telco immunity powers

U.S. District Court judge Vaughn Walker wondered aloud about the "carte blanche" immunization powers the telco immunity legislation crafted by Congress earlier this year provides for the U.S. Attorney General, while hearing the Electronic Frontier Foundation's legal challenge to the telco immunity statute. Walker also questioned whether there has ever been another statute like the telco immunity clause. Those words gave the first indication that Walker is open to the EFF's challenge, though he did not further indicate how he would rule on the challenge.

Walker also wondered why the issue couldn't wait for further guidance from the incoming administration of President-elect Barack Obama. Obama voted in support of telco immunity, though the EFF, in a separate posting on its own website, noted that Obama now has the power to control the fate of this issue, saying that rather than allow the attorney general immunization powers, he should freeze the immunity process until he learns the full details of the federal government's wiretapping program under the Bush administration. The EFF also said that if the telco immunity statute is eventually found to be unconstitutional, Obama should not lead an appeal effort against that ruling.

For more:
- Wired News Blogs has this post
- The EFF has some advice for Obama

Related articles
The EFF issued a challenge to telco immunity last month
Congress approved telco immunity back in July