Two US district courts to take up challenges to NSA surveillance programs filed by diverse groups


Two U.S. district courts are slated to hear challenges to National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs filed by both liberal and conservative groups while the Supreme Court is also going to possibly hear a case on the issue.

Two US district courts to take up challenges to NSA surveillance programs filed by diverse groups

This is especially noteworthy given that the Supreme Court refused to review a lawsuit challenging NSA surveillance last year. Previous court cases have brought out what were quite shocking statements at the time, but any case would likely be much more revealing now given the many leaks.

On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon will hear Larry Klayman, a former Reagan administration lawyer, argue for preliminary injunctions to be issued against the government’s major domestic surveillance programs.

Klayman is focusing on the mass collection of domestic call records from U.S. telephone companies and the collection of “cellphone and computer data from major wireless companies and Internet service providers,” according to USA Today.

Another case is being brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

On Friday, U.S. District Judge William Pauley will hear the ACLU’s request for a preliminary injunction against the telephone surveillance program.

The ACLU will argue that the USA Patriot Act does not authorize the widespread spying currently being done by the NSA based on the First and Fourth Amendments.

“This whole NSA thing unites both political ideologies,” Klayman said. “The whole country is outraged.”

Indeed, recent protests have shown that it is an issue appealing to a wide range of political and social positions.

The issue has also been taken up by individuals from both parties in Washington. Yet the Obama administration is fighting hard against any attempts to bring accountability to the surveillance programs.

“Neither the statute nor the Constitution permits the government to engage in that kind of dragnet surveillance of hundreds of millions of people who haven’t done anything wrong,” said Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director for the ACLU.

On Monday, the Supreme Court will likely announce if they will take up a case brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), according to The Hill.

The case brought by EPIC is aimed at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, the secret court that has been accused of being a surveillance rubber stamp.

It is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court will take the case, however, since it was brought directly by the court and did not make its way through lower courts.

“We’re confident that the court will take our challenge seriously,” said Alan Butler, the lead attorney for EPIC in the case, according to The Hill. “This really is an exceptional circumstance where we have seven years of secret FISA court orders based on an interpretation of federal law that most people agree is not correct.”

The Justice Department will apparently argue the same thing in all three cases, according to USA Today.

The department says that those bringing the cases lack any standing because they are not directly involved and cannot prove their records were examined by the government.

In their Supreme Court brief, the government argues that the program “authorizes the production of business records where there are ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ that the records are ‘relevant’ to an authorized and properly predicated ongoing FBI investigation of specific terrorist organizations.”

The courts very well may agree with the Justice Department and throw out the cases without actually dealing with the issues.

This article first appeared at Endthelie.

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