Appeals Court Reiterates: ACLU And Others Are Allowed To Sue The Gov't Over Secret Spying

from the moving-on... dept

Back in March, an appeals court said that the ACLU and others could challenge the controversial FISA Amendments Act, the highly controversial change to the law that Senator Wyden has been clearly suggesting is being interpreted ridiculously broadly, such that the US government is collecting private data on potentially millions of Americans without oversight or review. The concern was whether or not the ACLU had “standing” to bring the case. That’s because no one knows if their private data has been scooped up and used under FISA, because the government isn’t revealing it. But if you can’t prove you’ve been harmed by the law, can you sue? The government claimed that since the ACLU had no proof it could not sue. The court disagreed.

Not surprisingly, the US asked the full appeals court (rather than just the three judge panel) to review that ruling, but the court has now rejected that request. Often when a court refuses to rehear a case en banc, there isn’t much of a discussion about it — they just refuse. Yet here, there’s an 83 page filing of opinions (pdf) by judges on the court arguing over whether or not the case should have been heard. Incredibly, despite the clear implications of what Senator Wyden has been saying, a bunch of judges say that the FISA Amendments Act doesn’t represent a significant change in the law. Thankfully, those judges were outvoted here, and the lawsuit can move forward.

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Comments on “Appeals Court Reiterates: ACLU And Others Are Allowed To Sue The Gov't Over Secret Spying”

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Anonymous Coward says:


It seems to me that fear that my communications may have been intercepted causes emotional damage and therefore I (and anyone else) have standing to sue. The only way for the government to prove I haven’t been damaged is to prove they have not spied upon me. To do that, they’d have to reveal the full list of who has been spied upon. And we all know that will never happen!

Anonymous Coward says:

I read somewhere that 80% of all Americans will have a criminal record of some kind when they reach the age of 40.

So it impresses me to know that nobody cares about how criminals are being treated, since it probably is in their interest to make laws that will guarantee they are not mistreated by their own government.

America is a nation of criminals today.

HMTKSteve (user link) says:


Any time the court tells a plaintif that they lack standing that same court should be required to tell the plaintif who would have standing.

Plaintif: I want to sue over this.
Court: Sorry but you lack standing.
P: What about that guy over there, can he sue?
C: Nope.
P: But somebody can sue, right?
C: Yup.
P: So… can you point me to someone who would have standing?
C: Sorry, not my job…

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