The Obama administration is continuing its exceptionless pattern of attempting to deny access to the courts in every single lawsuit ever filed against the federal government for actions justified on the basis of counter-terrorism efforts. In yet another suit, the administration plays the same old shell game to prevent anyone from being able to challenge their actions in court.
Today, the government asked the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling that allowed our lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act to go forward. That law gives the government unprecedented authority to monitor Americans’ international emails and phone calls.
The appeals court ruling, which was issued in March 2011, held that our case could forward, rejecting the administration’s arguments that the case should be dismissed because our clients could not prove their communications would be collected under the law…
We filed our suit less than an hour after the FISA Amendments Act was signed into law by President Bush in July 2008. The suit was filed on behalf of a broad group of attorneys and human rights, labor, legal and media organizations whose work requires them to engage in sensitive telephone and email communications with people outside the U.S. Our plaintiffs include Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, The Nation, the Service Employees International Union and journalists Chris Hedges and Naomi Klein. The Justice Department claims that the plaintiffs should not be able to sue without first showing that they have been monitored under the program – information that the government refuses to provide.
But this should not be necessary at all. We know from Mark Klein, the AT&T whistleblower who wrote Wiring Up the Big Brother Machine, that the federal government is, in fact, engaging in wholesale data mining, copying virtually every phone call, email and text message sent anywhere in the country. Every single person should have standing to sue. Every single person is having their rights violated. And not only has Obama done nothing to stop it from happening, he has actively sought to ensure that no one will ever have their day in court to challenge executive power.