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Second Federal Judge 'Skeptical' About Legal Case for NSA Phone-Record Collection

Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union appeared in U.S. District Court Friday to argue for a preliminary injunction that would halt the National Security Agency's collection of all Americans' phone records.

Judge William Pauley did not set a time frame for when he might announce his decision – but as he reviews the case, NSA opponents may have cause for optimism.

ACLU legal fellow Brett Max Kaufman, one of the attorneys in court for the hearing, said Pauley seemed skeptical of the government's reliance on the Supreme Court's 1979 Smith v. Maryland decision.

The landmark ruling found a criminal defendant did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy over a list of phone numbers he dialed within a two-day period. The ruling is a key pillar of the government's legal argument for the surveillance program.

Another federal judge mulling the NSA phone-record collection expressed skepticism Monday about the case's relevance.


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