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Suit Challenging Election Surveillance May Go Forward, Second Circuit Decides

A lawsuit challenging the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments of 2008 (FAA) may proceed, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided March 21, 2011. The lower court dismissed the suit on standing grounds.

Amnesty International, with numerous other attorneys, journalists, and human rights organizations, sued the director of National Intelligence, arguing that the FAA violates Article III of the U.S. Constitution, separation of powers, and the First and Fourth Amendments. The FAA, according to the plaintiff’s complaint, “allows the executive branch sweeping and virtually unregulated authority to monitor the international communications of law-abiding U.S. citizens and residents.”

In reversing the district court, the Second Circuit held that the plaintiffs had standing to pursue their suit because the FAA’s procedures “cause them to fear that their communications will be monitored, and thus force them to undertake costly and burdensome measures to protect the confidentiality of international communications necessary to carrying out their jobs.” See: Amnesty International v. Clapper, No. 09-4113-CV, (2nd Cir. 2011).

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Related legal case

Amnesty International v. Clapper