Selya to Head FISA Court
Posted Apr 15, 2008 11:59 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
U.S. District Judge Bruce Selya of Rhode Island has been named to head the secret court that hears wiretap requests in terrorism cases.
Selya has been a member of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review since 2005 and will become presiding judge in May, the Providence Journal reports.
The newspaper notes that Selya’s appointment comes as legislators consider changes in the nation’s spying laws. Selya said he can’t be influenced by the debate.
“In my line of work, you learn you are there to do the job as it presents itself,” he said. “In my regular work, I never know when I decide a case if it will only be of importance to the parties or of national or historic significance. And you have to handle them all the same way—to be fair and to approach the problem as intelligently as you can and get the right answers.”
The FISA court has issued only three public rulings in its 29-year history. In the latest, the court in December declined to make public secret rulings striking down portions of a controversial warrantless wiretapping program by the government.