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Friday, July 06, 2007

Federal appeals court dismisses domestic surveillance challenge
Jeannie Shawl at 11:05 AM ET

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has rejected [PDF text] a lawsuit challenging the government's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive], ruling Friday that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the suit. The ACLU filed the lawsuit [complaint, PDF; ACLU materials] on behalf of journalists, scholars, attorneys and national nonprofit organizations having "a well-founded belief that their communications are being intercepted by the NSA" in order to challenge the use of warrantless wiretaps by the National Security Agency to intercept communications of suspected terrorists. The appeals court ruled 2-1 that a lower court decision finding the domestic surveillance program to be unconstitutional should be overturned:

The plaintiffs are a collection of associations and individuals led by the American Civil Liberties Union, and they cross-appeal. Because we cannot find that any of the plaintiffs have standing for any of their claims, we must vacate the district court's order and remand for dismissal of the entire action.
The court remanded the case to the district court with instructions to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction.

US District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled last August that the NSA's warrantless wiretaps were unconstitutional [ruling, PDF; JURIST report] and ordered the NSA to immediately cease using the wiretaps. She ruled that the NSA wiretaps violate free speech and privacy rights. The Sixth Circuit later ruled that domestic surveillance could continue [JURIST report] while the decision was appealed. AP has more.

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