Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Constitutional challenge to FISA immunity law: go EFF go!

In Courtroom Showdown, Bush Demands Amnesty for Spying Telecoms | Threat Level from Wired.com
"Is there any precedent for this type of enactment that is analogous in all of these respects: retroactivity; immunity for constitutional violations; and delegation of broad discretion to the executive branch to determine whether to invoke the provision?," the judge asked.

Carl Tobias, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law, says the immunity legislation, if upheld, "makes it possible to extend immunity to other areas of the law."

And fortunately, the judge seemed to have some reservations about the statute:

Judge Questions Telecom Immunity | Threat Level from Wired.com
"In essence that gives the attorney general carte blanche to immunize anyone." Walker said, wondering what odd creature Congress had fashioned. "What other statute is like this statute?"
Here are the EFF's documents on the case:

NSA Multi-District Litigation | Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive, illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications. In May, 2006, many other cases were filed against a variety of telecommunications companies. Subsequently the Multi-District Litigation Panel of the federal courts transferred approximately 40 cases to the Northern District of California federal court.
And the good news is that Judge Walker has denied the motion to dismiss!

Al-Haramain Warrantless Spying Case Can Proceed | Electronic Frontier Foundation
Today, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court in San Francisco denied the government's third motion to dismiss the Al-Haramain v. Bush litigation. The ruling means that the case can proceed and the court also set up a process to allow the Al Haramain plaintiffs to prosecute the case while protecting classified information.
"Without a doubt, plaintiffs have alleged enough to plead 'aggrieved persons' status so as to proceed to the next step in proceedings . . ."

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