Larry Klayman, the dumbest lawyer in America not named Mat Staver, had his long streak of failure broken when a federal judge actually ruled in his favor in a lawsuit filed against the NSA for data mining (which had far more to do with the judge in question, not his work in the case). Now competent attorneys from the ACLU and the EFF are asking to intervene in the case at the appeals court.
On Friday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation asked to join in arguments set to be held in November on the government’s appeal of the first and only judicial ruling disputing the constitutionality of the NSA’s program sweeping up information on billions of telephone calls to, from, and within the United States.
The groups asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to allow them 10 minutes of argument time.
The move is the latest step in an effort by the civil liberties organizations to have a hand in as much as possible of the pending litigation related to the NSA’s so-called bulk collection of phone data for counterterrorism purposes. In July, the ACLU and EFF joined the legal team for the appeal of an Idaho nurse’s challenge to the NSA program. The ACLU also brought a suit on its own behalf that is pending before the 2nd Circuit and EFF has several cases pending in California…
The ACLU and EFF motion (posted here) says they should get argument time in front of the D.C. Circuit because the groups are making arguments Klayman did not about the viability of a 1979 Supreme Court precedent key to the dispute. The groups also suggest they have a better understanding of the technological issues than does Klayman.“Amici have extensive understanding of how metadata such as the telephone records at issue in this case can be analyzed, aggregated and used to determine sensitive information about individuals such as the Klayman plaintiffs. As a result, amici are uniquely positioned to provide history and expertise on issues elaborated upon in their brief that may be beyond the central focus and expertise of the parties,” the civil liberties groups said.
Some civil liberties litigators are clearly a bit jittery about having Klayman at the helm of a key argument on the surveillance issue in the D.C. Circuit, often considered the most significant appeals court on issues involving the government. The colorful conservative lawyer is known for provocative arguments and legal tactics that often frustrate his opponents and sometimes irritate judges.
At the surveillance arguments in the district court last year, Klayman told U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon that upholding the snooping might lead to some kind of insurrection. “We live in an Orwellian state,” Klayman said. If litigation fails, he added, “the only alternative is for people to take matters into their own hands.” The attorney also assailed the ethics of some of Leon’s colleagues on the D.C. federal bench.
And that is exactly why civil liberties advocates want in. Klayman is a buffoon who files briefs and complaints full of political boilerplate instead of well-reasoned legal arguments.