Remember When Supreme Court Rejected Review Of FISA Amendments Act, Because It Was 'Too Speculative' That Plaintiffs Were Being Monitored?

from the can-we-get-a-recount? dept

It really was just a few months ago that the Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit filed by the ACLU, seeking to find the FISA Amendments Act unconstitutional. This is part of the law that is so key to the NSA's surveillance strategy, part of which was revealed over the past few days. The key problem for the Supreme Court was that the plaintiffs didn't have standing, because it was "too speculative" to suggest that the government had monitored their communications. Specifically, the court said that the injury must be "certainly impending." From the ruling:
Yet respondents have no actual knowledge of the Government’s §1881a targeting practices. Instead, respondents merely speculate and make assumptions about whether their communications with their foreign contacts will be acquired under §1881a. .... “The party invoking federal jurisdiction bears the burden of establishing” standing—and, at the summary judgment stage, such a party “can no longer rest on . . . ‘mere allegations,’ but must ‘set forth’ by affidavit or other evidence ‘specific facts.’”.... Respondents, however, have set forth no specific facts demonstrating that the communications of their foreign contacts will be targeted. Moreover, because §1881a at most authorizes—but does not mandate or direct—the surveillance that respondents fear, respondents’ allegations are necessarily conjectural. .... Simply put, respondents can only speculate as to how the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.
The court also points out that since the FISA Court could block such an attempt, the plaintiffs would also need to show that the FISC authorized the surveillance.
...even if respondents could show that the Government will seek the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court’s authorization to acquire the communications of respondents’ foreign contacts under ยง1881a, respondents can only speculate as to whether that court will authorize such surveillance
Right. So, given the now leaked documents showing that the FISA Court ordered the data on all phone calls from Verizon, and the further admission from multiple Senators that this program has been happening continuously since at least 2007, perhaps someone should be filing a lawsuit (if they haven't already), and using the latest leaks as proof of standing...

Filed Under: faa, fisa amendments act, nsa surveillance, privacy, speculative, supreme court, surveillance


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  1. icon
    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), 10 Jun 2013 @ 12:37pm

    One problem. All of the documents and information being widely reported in the press is still classified (under the theory believed by two-year-olds that also covers that when you put your hands over your eyes, you're invisible). So expect every objections that the documents cannot be used.

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