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.