When elephants fight, the Pine Tree State suffers


The Justice Department has sued Maine utilities regulators for trying to find out whether Verizon turned over customer records to the National Security Agency:

"The defendant state officers' attempts to obtain such information are invalid under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution and are preempted by the United States Constitution and various federal statutes," the lawsuit said.

Kurt Adams, chairman of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, as well as two other regulatory officials, were named in the lawsuit.

Verizon's local subsidiaries were also named to prevent the company from responding to the Maine officials' demands for information.

"We're just in the middle here," said Verizon spokesman Peter Thonis.

State busybodies or federal goons: Name your poison.

Jacob Sullum hangs up on the president's elastic definition of his own phone-tapping powers. Jeff Taylor crank calls the telecon giants. Here's a roundup of Reason's phone records coverage from back in May.