25 votes

Judge: NSA phone surveillance program unconstitutional

(CNN) -- The government's once-secret program of collecting domestic telephone communication records of Americans was ruled unconstitutional Monday by a federal court.

Judge Richard Leon said the surveillance program of so-called metadata was an apparent violation of privacy rights, ruling in favor of four plaintiffs.

"I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval," said the judge, an appointee of President George W. Bush. "Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment."

But the judge stayed enforcement of his order barring the government from collecting the phone metadata, pending an appeal by the government. There was no initial indication whether the Obama administration would seek such an appeal.

Leon said the "plaintiffs in this case have also shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits of a Fourth Amendment claim. As such, they too have adequately demonstrated irreparable injury."
The case is Klayman v. Obama (13-cv-881).


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Here's how this works

When they know they have a compliant appellate court, and they almost all are, they will allow an inferior judge or court to overturn a case, but with a stay of course.

This makes it look like the Constitution has 'had a fair trial'.

It's professional wrestling. It's kabuki.

The inferior court judge or judges are given permission, hell probably even encouraged, to overturn the un-Contsitutional law in question. It makes for good drama. It keeps everyone interested in the game.

The fix is in.

Federal judges' primary qualification is that they are blackmailable. They are not permitted to be a federal judge unless they can be blackmailed. That's what the security background checks ensure. They aren't making sure a judge is clean, they are making damned sure he's not clean.

I would love for this not to be the case. That somehow the appeals court for this case is clean. But the odds of them making that sort of mistake at an appellate level is about zero.


This judge seems pretty fierce in his requirement for burden of proof, so the appeal should be quite an interesting spectacle, even if you are correct. I happen to think this judge means business, and any judge, with any sense of sanity, would slap this down on Constitutional grounds. I forsee it being sent to SCOTUS.

They are meant to appear fierce

You read the opinions of the two judges that initially ruled against obamacare? Man that was some fierce posturing! Loved that stuff.

It might get to SCOTUS, but the fix is in, especially if it gets to SCOTUS. The only drama at that point will be them deciding who gets to go on record opposing it.

But I think you are wrong on Roberts recusing. He will want not to recuse himself so he can attempt to redeem his legacy by being on the minority that votes against it being Constitutional. Two most likely in the minority will be Thomas and Roberts. My next pick would be Kennedy, the last one is iffy. Ginsburg?

If SCOTUS takes the case..

I would be amazed if Roberts doesnt recuse himself as he has appointed the FISA judge(s).

How long before legislation

is passed claiming that the information collected by the NSA is some type of information "TAX" and therefore legal. Just like Obamacare !!

Ron Swanson

Is the Big Nsa watching little ole me?

Substitute the monsters as the government

Big deal.

"It's unconstitutional, but that's okay, you guys can just go ahead and keep on doing it."

Glenn Greenwald weighs in!

Glenn Greenwald: "It's A Very Important Vindication Of Our Fellow Citizen Edward Snowden!"


Did he really speak those words

Did he really speak those words or is it misquoted?

It's a vindication of something alright, our U.S. constitution being the full role of law. I didn't need Greenwald to tell me that, either.

He said it @ 3m36s into the video

Exact words were:

"And it's also, I think a very important vindication for our fellow citizen Edward Snowden."


I guess the other post on this didn't have a proper enough title

Hopefully this gets on the front page pronto.

Snowden says judge's ruling vindicates disclosures

Therefore halt the program

Its illegal and has been proven such several times.
Halt the program, too much room open for abuse.

Whether Muslims are spying or foreign Israelis or white KKK in the NSA are engaged in the spying, in any context it is illegal. Halt the program and shutter it now.