ACLU Wiretap Suit Dismissed

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Updated: A federal appeals court has ruled in a 2-1 decision that the American Civil Liberties Union and other plaintiffs lack standing to challenge warrantless wiretaps in terrorism cases.

Today’s opinion by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacates a lower court decision that had held the surveillance program was unconstitutional, the Associated Press reports.

Judge Julia Smith Gibbons said today in her concurring opinion that the plaintiffs lacked standing because they provided no evidence they were personally subject to the surveillance program. She concurred in the judgment based on that reason. Judge Alice Batchelder addressed additional issues in her lead opinion.

Dissenting Judge Ronald Lee Gilman said he believed the plaintiffs had standing and the surveillance program violated a federal law setting up a special surveillance court to grant foreign intelligence warrants.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush had allowed the executive branch to wiretap calls between people in United States and overseas terrorism suspects without the court’s approval. The administration changed its stance in January and agreed to allow the special court to oversee the spy program. However, Bush contends he has the power to resume the warrantless surveillance at any time.

The opinion is American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency, Nos. 06-2095/2140.

A hat tip to How Appealing, which posted news of the ruling.

Originally posted 07-06-2007 10:15 AM.

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