The 9th Circuit has decided a pair of cases involving the NSA Surveillance Program.
In Jewel v. NSA, the 9th Circuit concluded that plaintiffs had standing to raise constitutional challenges against NSA telephone surveillance:
A while back, it was reported that the Bush Administration authorized the NSA to engage in warrantless wiretapping. Based on the information released so far, the program was likely illegal. Now, it appears that the warrantless wiretapping program (more innocuously renamed the “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” or “TSP”) is just the tip of a larger iceberg.
For the past several months, Congress has been wrangling over how to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow for the NSA warrantless surveillance program. The fact that the NSA surveillance program was clearly illegal — even under charitable creative dubiously-plausible fantastical interpretations of the law — seems to have quickly been forgotten. The focus now is on how to make it all legal. After all, if the President violates the law, it’s much easier to change the law than to do anything about it.
In Mayfield v. United States, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken (District of Oregon) held that parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, which were altered by the USA Patriot Act in 2001, are unconstitutional. The case was brought by Brandon Mayfield, a who was put under extensive surveillance and then detained for two weeks because the FBI suspected him of involvement in the Madrid train bombing of 2004. The FBI thought Mayfield’s fingerprint was at the scene of the bombing, but it was gravely mistaken. According to the AP: