Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to International Surveillance Law


In 2008, an amendment was added to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that gave the United States government the freedom to monitor international communications without having a specific cause or specific target in mind. The law was intended to facilitate surveillance of foreigners outside the country to obtain

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anti-terrorism intelligence. Three groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and journalists, brought a suit against the law. However, President Obama’s administration took the position that the parties challenging the law did not have grounds to sue, since they could not prove they experienced personal injury or damages from the law.

The justices of the Supreme Court, while split along party lines, ruled to agree with the executive branch. The conservative party won out when they ruled 5-4 to throw out the case. Journalists feel that they are inconvenienced because they cannot risk communicating over the phone with confidential sources. Human rights activists believe that this act violates peoples Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure by subjecting them to being monitored without a warrant. In the past, the Supreme Court has taken a more lenient view of what composes appropriate standing to sue. However, since the 9-11 attacks, this highest court has declined to meddle with government policies regarding gathering intelligence to give the government greater liberties.

Source courtesy of Reuters. Image courtesy of Forbes.