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United States Government Privacy The Courts

The 5 Cases That Could Pit the Supreme Court Against the NSA 114

An anonymous reader writes: We've all been wondering how the U.S. Judicial branch will deal with the NSA's bulk metadata surveillance. Getting a case to the Supreme Court isn't a quick process, so we haven't seen much movement yet. But later this year, several cases have the potential to force a Supreme Court ruling on the NSA, whether they like it or not. Ars summarizes the five likeliest cases, and provides estimates on their timelines. For example, Klayman v. Obama was one of the first lawsuits filed after the Snowden leaks were published. The first judge to hear it actually ordered the government to halt the metadata program and destroy all data, but stayed his own order pending appeal. The case is now awaiting a decision from the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, and several other high-profile lawsuits are awaiting its outcome. The decision in Klayman will have a domino effect on NSA-related court battles across the country.
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The 5 Cases That Could Pit the Supreme Court Against the NSA

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  • would-a, and all that.
    • by TheRealHocusLocus ( 2319802 ) on Saturday January 03, 2015 @08:12AM (#48724209)

      I am Sam. Uncle Sam I am.
      That Uncle Sam, that Uncle Sam, I do not trust that Uncle Sam.
      Do you like backbone voice/data taps and bulk retention?
      I do not like them, Uncle Sam. They're just tools for blackmail, thugs and future despots. They am.
      Would you like them here or there?
      What bullshit, Sam. You put them everywhere.
      Would you like it bound by Charter? Can I promise to do no evil? Tartar?
      We tried that, Sam. The old folks have retired and it's run by young sociopaths who don't see anything wrong with even tapping their own poor children. They're smart-stupids, blinded by the buck and the tech, they do not realize what a sorry-ass country this could become WHEN that stuff falls in the wrong hands.
      Then introduce a bill into the House. Ask your senator, man... or mouse?
      Mumble National Security mumble, they say. I think they are under blackmail, today.
      Then will you, won't you, take it to the Judge? [wink]
      We did, in Hepting vs. AT&T [wikipedia.org]. The only case that would have exposed, in the discovery process, the true extent of domestic telecom surveillance. The Ninth Circuit dismissed the case by citing a law that was enacted AFTER the case was filed. The Supreme Court refused to hear it. Miscarriage of justice, much?
      Your bitter phrases take lots of time, you cannot even make them rhyme.
      That's because I trying to communicate something REAL, asshole.
      Should I put NSA in a box?
      Guard the hen house with a fox?
      You mean, appoint a Director that goes before Congress under oath, pretends to know nothing and needs both hands to find his ass in the dark?? We've tried that too. I thought it was unlawful to lie to Congress, guess not.
      Would you like it on a boat? Would you like it with a goat?
      That's the kind of transparent childish misdirection we've come to expect from you people. Like that stupid false metadata conundrum, a limited hang-out where you 'pretend' to relinquish voluntary data sharing agreements, and fill everyone's ears with talk of metadata. When all the while the backbone taps ensure you will obtain all that by other means, and more besides.
      You do not like Big Brother, so you say,
      Try it! Try it! And you may.
      Fuck off.

      It's been tried, Stalin would be proud of what we have built already. The TRUE extent of our domestic spy apparatus is, by now, probably hidden and partitioned into layers. The folks who built it out knew full well it would not pass Constitutional muster, and so they have probably created a series of interlocking pieces and black-funded faux-telecom 'private' companies that have title of the 'assets'. It may require a massive de-funding and deconstruction effort, and the sociopaths that have built this thing may 'turn turtle' and put their legs in the air... but that will NOT be enough. We're back to Hepting vs. AT&T again, it is the private telecommunications technicians that must come forward en masse and help identify these interconnect points.

      I wish I could trust you, Uncle Sam
      Can I interest you in some... spam?

    • by memnock ( 466995 )

      ... But later this year, several cases have the potential to force a Supreme Court ruling on the NSA, whether they like it or not.

      Whether the SCOTUS "likes it or not"? Does one really think that the majority of the court would be uncomfortable or somehow put out with substantiating the gov't's abuses of power? The only party likely to be uncomfortable with these court cases is the small percentage of regular folks who pay attention to and care about these issues when they see the SCOTUS rule in favor of spy

  • by Taco Cowboy ( 5327 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @09:12PM (#48721979) Journal

    As an American of course I wish that the SCOTUS would honor the very spirit that makes the USA special - in which, the government should never have given any power to intrude on the citizens' rights

    But then, as a person who knows what the United States of America has turned into ... I ain't gonna be holding my breath

    Them SCOTUS people are as corrupt as the rest --- and to think the NSA (and those powerful god-like beings who holds control over spook agencies such as NSA) don't already have influences over the SCOTUS judges is to deny the reality

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The courts, free press, political leaders, advertizing and computer brands, academics and telcos have to start wondering about the optics of the legal situation long term.
      How will they be seen by domestic and international users, the paying public and developers?
      Will generations of new products just route around the NSL issues and collect it all domestic spying programs?
      What are the big brands options?
      To be seen as front companies for the security services of a few different nations? Tame networks an
    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      They've made some decisions recently that have surprised me. The whole letting the gays get married thing, I didn't really see that coming. IIRC they've also consistently said that police can't stop private citizens from taking video of them in public places. But I still hold the cynical view that they'll always come down on the side of law enforcement, even if the decision is in blatant contradiction to the constitution and standing law. I guess we'll see.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      You'll find no individuals with huge powers any more. Just like all police states, it is all about the temporary collusion of corrupt psychopaths, all seeking more of everything and each of them considering each other the greatest threat. The heads of the police in a police state always turn their power against those who gave it to them, to make sure they can no longer take it away. Be sure there is plenty of criminal stuff on the very rich to extort them with. No different to the rich in nazi germany, the

  • Klayman (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @09:39PM (#48722115)
    I'd feel a lot better about this case if the plaintiff (Klayman) weren't proceeding pro se and actually had a lawyer who knew how to argue a case instead of using his pleadings as a political soap box.
    • Re:Klayman (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @10:25PM (#48722323)

      I'd feel a lot better about this case if the plaintiff (Klayman) weren't proceeding pro se and actually had a lawyer who knew how to argue a case instead of using his pleadings as a political soap box.

      The American justice system has been co-opted by lawyers who've constructed a labyrinthine system of rules meant to enrich themselves by wresting control from the common man and forcing the use of their services. It shouldn't be necessary to avail oneself of legal aid to pursue civil torts. His choice to do this himself is in itself a protest of the horrible state of affairs in American courtrooms.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It shouldn't be necessary to avail oneself of legal aid to pursue civil torts.

        It shouldn't, but it is, and there's no way the Roberts court will change that.

        His choice to do this himself is in itself a protest of the horrible state of affairs in American courtrooms.

        A person representing himself has a fool for a client.

        There are very good reasons never to represent yourself, even if you are a lawyer. The Fifth Amendment is one.

      • by alen ( 225700 )

        having served on juries and heard how people try to argue their case in something minor like a speeding ticket, there is a good reason for lawyers. most people will come into court spouting some nonsense that doesn't make sense or doesn't follow the law.

        • having served on juries and heard how people try to argue their case in something minor like a speeding ticket, there is a good reason for lawyers. most people will come into court spouting some nonsense that doesn't make sense or doesn't follow the law.

          I like

          "... were you speeding?"

          "Well yah, but ..."

          DONE

      • Re:Klayman (Score:5, Informative)

        by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Friday January 02, 2015 @11:05PM (#48722503) Homepage

        I'd feel a lot better about this case if the plaintiff (Klayman) weren't proceeding pro se and actually had a lawyer who knew how to argue a case instead of using his pleadings as a political soap box.

        The American justice system has been co-opted by lawyers who've constructed a labyrinthine system of rules meant to enrich themselves by wresting control from the common man and forcing the use of their services. It shouldn't be necessary to avail oneself of legal aid to pursue civil torts. His choice to do this himself is in itself a protest of the horrible state of affairs in American courtrooms.

        It shouldn't be necessary to hire a plumber to hook up a dishwasher, or hire an electrician to wire an extra circuit. I am a licensed professional engineer with a strong background in piping and electrical. I can do both tasks easilly, and understand the theory of each. When the building inspector comes around though, I would be biting my nails. Only someone who does a trade or profession for a living every day has a hope of knowing all the little rules, tricks, and pitfalls.

        It's fine to have a law enthusiast represent themselves when it is their own skin on the line. Not so good when they will be arguing a case that may well be the legal precedent for the next 100 years. The only saving grace is that if he does get to the Supreme Court, the justices generally do a good job of making all the arguments themselves and just use the lawyers as their pawns to advance their preconceived talking points.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          It shouldn't be necessary to hire a plumber to hook up a dishwasher, or hire an electrician to wire an extra circuit. I am a licensed professional engineer with a strong background in piping and electrical. I can do both tasks easilly, and understand the theory of each. When the building inspector comes around though, I would be biting my nails. Only someone who does a trade or profession for a living every day has a hope of knowing all the little rules, tricks, and pitfalls.

          The problem is that I wouldn't want to be the co-occupant, tenant, sleepover guest, new owner, home insurance company, in a different apartment or chained building of someone playing electrician and plumber, if you die in a fire of your own making I don't really care but if you're going to burn down the whole house with me in it then it matters. Every so often we get media examples of people doing home renovation not just in violation of code and regulation but sanity and safety. And the problem is often in

      • It shouldn't be necessary to avail oneself of legal aid to pursue civil torts.

        Klayman is a lawyer. A remarkably inept one (he gets an astonishing number of cases thrown out on grounds that most non-lawyers spot immediately.) You can look up one of his other cases recently in the news where he is representing Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio in a (dismissed, standing) case against President Obama's executive orders on immigration.

    • well, that idiot has already won 1 case, but it was in a very conservative court.
  • They actually get it into the supreme court. Prove that the US is run by corporate Nazi's and Roman Catholic driven first world government mob.

    Unified response of the corporate run Nazi's and Roman Catholic driven first world government mob: What are ya going to do about it?

    The people: "But Rome and Hitler fell and the same is happening here with the militarization of local governments driving them bankrupt and fleecing an already broke people?"

    Unified response of the corporate run Nazi's and Roman Catho

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      To use the German context. If the US courts fail the Fourth Amendment then a new digital Berlin Wall will be very clear.
      Domestic and other users can then route around that issue. Another issue to consider when upgrading or buying the next generation of networking products and services.
      • The way these idiots are printing and spending money to fight a war against an idealism which is not a sovereign country that I'm aware of, we the people will be lucky to have running water and a working shitter let alone gasoline or internet in 20 years.

        First words all newborns should hear; "Sorry, your country fucked you, (for life sucker).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The US Supreme Court can choose to accept or reject any case assigned to it and, historically, tends to take a minimalist approach. These cases are of the sort that the court will accept, but it is unwise to assume that any decision will resolve root issues. Many are remanded to the appeals court for further review and many are decided on very narrow grounds.

    A SCOTUS ruling can have very broad and sometimes unexpected impact and the court seems to follow the medical credo... "First, do no harm". Every judge

    • A SCOTUS ruling can have very broad and sometimes unexpected impact and the court seems to follow the medical credo... "First, do no harm".

      Your high-school civics book is out of date. Two words: "Ciizens United."

      • "First, do no harm to your corporate sponsors."

        It's not SOTUS's fault most medical textbooks omit the last four words!
      • Your high-school civics book is out of date. Two words: "Ciizens United."

        You don't seem to provide any demonstration of actual harm in those two words although the POTUS did try to intimidate and threaten the SCOTUS over it. That risks damage to more than one institution.

    • And yet, the majority conservatives in this court are VERY much activists, whose only interest is in pushing their politics.
  • Bush v Gore
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    Citizens United
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]
    Heien v North Carolina (you got to read this one)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    And so on...

    • In Helen, the state law required that all "originally equipped rear lamps [be] in good working order" . The officer saw that the rear brake light was not in working order. Your contention is that it was unconstitutionally unreasonable to make the traffic stop, because a year later an appeals court might decide that "all originally equipped rear lamps" means only tail lights, not brake lights?

      In Bush v Gore, the court declined to force a state to hand-pick different voting standards for different precincts

      • by koan ( 80826 )

        Your contention is that it was unconstitutionally unreasonable to make the traffic stop

        I never said that.

        Are you of the opinion

        I'm of the opinion Bush was the worst thing that ever happened to this country, until Obama came along of course.

        • by Cramer ( 69040 )

          Find the alternate universe where Gore won and tell me how that turned out. I would be hard pressed to say we've ever had a good president. (Historically, we've had some really entertaining ones, but "good"???)

          • by koan ( 80826 )

            We will never know, but we can say Bush was one of the worst if not THE worst (prior to Obama)

        • I'm of the opinion Bush was the worst thing that ever happened to this country, until Obama came along of course.

          I would attribute that to inadequate familiarity with the subject area.

          • by koan ( 80826 )

            I would attribute that to inadequate familiarity with the subject area.

            Because you have a historical view, you can't see what's happening to you in this time, the things that happened under Bush opened a Pandoras box of nastiness for the future.

            That won't be obvious for most until quite a few years have passed.

        • >. I'm of the opinion Bush was the worst thing that ever
          > happened to this country, until Obama came along of course.

          Worst presidents since 1980, anyway. We've had a lot of bad stuff happen - the depression, the civil war, etc. We've had some pretty crappy presidents in the last 200 years also, and those two were certainly crappy.

          >> Your contention is that it was unconstitutionally unreasonable to make the traffic stop

          > never said that.

          The ruling was that it was NOT so unreasonable as to b

          • by koan ( 80826 )

            I thought you indicated that was a horrible ruling.

            No I said "don't get your hopes up" that's all I said.

            One of the Judges stated

            In her dissent, Sotomayor argued that the reasonableness of a search or seizure should instead be determined by evaluating "an officer's understanding of the facts against the actual state of the law."

            Others, presumably in the know, have stated this allows a violation of the 4th amendment at anytime by allowing the officer to claim ignorance.

            So while the case was minor, the implications of the decision are not.

            Of course you would know this if you actually read the wiki, instead of spending your time reading into what I stated, and did your due diligence.

      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        Zombie winger lies:

        In Bush v Gore, the court declined to force a state to hand-pick different voting standards for different precincts

        False. There was only one standard: determine the intent of the voter. Pretending otherwise because Florida had wildly different methods of voting (opscan/punch cards/butterfly) is to be willfully obtuse.

        Are you of the opinion that the Gore campaign must be allowed to tailor the rules not just on a county a by a county basis, but also precinct a by precinct?

        Irrelevant. You

        • There is no consistent set of rules which result in a Gore win. His camp acknowledged that by insisting on strict rules in conservative precincts and liberal rules in precincts that leaned Democrat. Additionally, you have to ALSO exclude votes from the men and women serving overseas.

          If you think you can come up with ANY set of procedures that result in a Gore win when applied consistently, please link to it. You may have seen a Comedy Central sketch which implied otherwise. I can understand you're disa

          • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

            There is no consistent set of rules which result in a Gore win. His camp acknowledged that by insisting on strict rules in conservative precincts and liberal rules in precincts that leaned Democrat. Additionally, you have to ALSO exclude votes from the men and women serving overseas.

            More winger urban legends with no basis in reality. No to mention the projection, given the fact that illegally cast overseas ballots were counted, which favored Bush.

            If you think you can come up with ANY set of procedures that

            • The most comprehensive recount was a $1 million effort sponsored by the Associated Press, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, St. Petersburg Times, Palm Beach Post, Washington Post and the Tribune Co., which owns papers including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun. That press recount, the big one, found that Bush still won, even without the military votes.

              One last time, if you think there was some other recount that found different, LINK TO IT.

              There was one we

              • The most comprehensive recount was a $1 million effort sponsored by the Associated Press, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, St. Petersburg Times, Palm Beach Post, Washington Post and the Tribune Co., which owns papers including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel and Baltimore Sun. That press recount, the big one, found that Bush still won, even without the military votes.

                Hoist on your own snobby petard. [washingtonpost.com] The very study you mention is the one showing Gore winning a statewide rec

    • by Cramer ( 69040 )

      The correct answer in Heien is obviously to say "NO" to the f'ing search. If a cop has probable cause (or a warrant), he's not going to ask, he's going to cuff you and search away.

      And the interpretation of "one brake light" is news to every single badge in the state. (It's the #1 BS reason to stop someone when fishing.)

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Re: Heien

      Ignorance of the law is no excuse.... unless you're a cop.

  • President Jackson (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Let them enforce it."

  • The problem with the NSA is not that it is collecting massive amounts of metadata, capturing phone calls or intercepting Internet activity ... it's that ANYBODY KNOWS ABOUT IT!!!

    Same with the FBI and CIA.

    America used to have intelligence ... the "intel" kind.

    Our secret service got no fucking street cred.

  • ...the NSA will know the USSC ruling before they announce it.

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