6th Circuit, Department of Justice, Eavesdropping / Wiretapping, War on Terror

Breaking: Sixth Circuit Smacks Down ACLU in NSA Wiretapping Case

A summary of the action, courtesy of Howard Bashman (aka “Ho Bash,” as one commenter dubbed him):

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit holds that the American Civil Liberties Union and its co-plaintiffs lack standing to challenge the National Security Administration’s interception without warrants of certain telephone and email communications…

Circuit Judge Alice M. Batchelder issued the lead opinion, and Circuit Judge Julia Smith Gibbons issued an opinion concurring in the judgment. Judge Gibbons’s opinion begins, “The disposition of all of the plaintiffs’ claims depends upon the single fact that the plaintiffs have failed to provide evidence that they are personally subject to the TSP. Without this evidence, on a motion for summary judgment, the plaintiffs cannot establish standing for any of their claims, constitutional or statutory….”

And Circuit Judge Ronald Lee Gilman dissented. He would hold that the plaintiffs possess standing and that “the [Terrorist Surveillance Program] as originally implemented violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.”

Is this ruling a surprise? Not so much. First, most legal analysts were deeply disappointed by the handiwork of Judge Anna Diggs Taylor (E.D. Mich.), the district judge in this case.
Second, here’s a telling detail from the Sixth Circuit website:
Sixth Circuit website Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.jpg
Does the Sixth Circuit website always feature a patriotic graphic of the United States filled with a flag pattern? Or is this just a special Fourth of July thing they haven’t gotten around to changing back yet?
ACLU v. NSA [U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (PDF) via How Appealing]
Many Experts Fault Reasoning Of Judge in Surveillance Ruling [New York Times]

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