Oral Arguments Weds. on FISA Re-Write Law

An hour after former President Bush signed the new FISA bill into law, the ACLU and other civil liberties groups filed a federal lawsuit in New York challenging it. Oral arguments will be heard Wednesday. (Received by e-mail, no link yet.)

The American Civil Liberties Union will be in court Wednesday for oral arguments in its landmark challenge to the unconstitutional FISA Amendments Act (FAA), which gives the government virtually unchecked power to intercept Americans' international e-mails and telephone calls. The ACLU filed a lawsuit to stop the government from spying under the FAA less than an hour after the Act was signed into law by President Bush on July 10, 2008. Recent news reports have indicated that the National Security Agency has exceeded the already overbroad limits granted to it under the FAA.


The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are:

Plaintiffs in the case are The Nation and contributing journalists Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges; defense attorneys Dan Arshack, David Nevin, Scott McKay and Sylvia Royce; and Amnesty International USA, Global Rights, Global Fund for Women, Human Rights Watch, PEN American Center, Service Employees International Union, Washington Office on Latin America and the International Criminal Defense Attorneys Association.

The principal contentions of the challenge:

  • The FAA violates the Fourth Amendment because it allows the government to gobble up the constitutionally protected communications of American citizens and residents without getting individualized warrants, and without specifying the time, place or length of the surveillance, and not specifying how the info gathered will be disseminated, or how long it’ll be kept. (You know, the who/what/where/when/why.)
  • The FAA also violates the First Amendment by chilling lawful expressive speech without adequate justification by authorizing the government to intercept constitutionally protected communications without judicial oversight.
  • The challenged law violates the principle of separation of powers by allowing the government to continue surveillance activities even if the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has deemed those activities illegal. (Good idea, right? Asking the government to obey the law?)

Full details are here.

< Can AOL Make a Comeback? | News You Could Care Less About and Open Thread >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Proud to be a card-carrying member (none / 0) (#1)
    by KeysDan on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:18:00 AM EST
    of the ACLU (and Nation subscriber) despite the rare exception I may have to a position, e.g., TL discussions of the previous week.