Federal Appeals Court Allows ACLU Challenge to Warrantless Wiretapping Law to Proceed

Decision to Deny Rehearing Upholds Ruling That Plaintiffs Have Standing to Challenge FISA Amendments Act FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org NEW YORK – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit today denied the government’s request that all of the court’s judges rehear a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), a law that gives the executive branch virtually unchecked power to collect Americans’ international emails and telephone calls. In March, a three-judge panel of the court unanimously ruled the plaintiffs have the right to challenge the constitutionality of the law. ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said, “The government’s surveillance practices should not be immune from judicial review, and this decision ensures that they won’t be. The law we’ve challenged permits the government to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications, and it has none of the safeguards that the Constitution requires. Now that the appeals court has reaffirmed that our clients have the right to challenge the law, we look forward to pressing that challenge in the trial court.” In his opinion concurring with the denial of rehearing en banc, Judge Gerard E. Lynch wrote, “It is the glory of our system that even our elected leaders must defend the legality of their conduct when challenged. Short-circuiting that process risks not only that we will be governed by unconstitutional laws, but also that legitimate exercises of the lawmaking power will exist under a cloud, undispelled by the light of objective reasoning.” More information about the ACLU lawsuit challenging the FAA is available at: www.aclu.org/national-security/amnesty-et-al-v-clapper

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