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FISA: So that's the end of the litigation, right?

A news release from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the plaintiffs in Hepting v. AT&T, a class action lawsuit, and is coordinating co-counsel in the 47 lawsuits outstanding against the telecoms: "Senate Joins House in Caving to White House Immunity Demands -- Telecoms Let Off the Hook for Illegal Spying - For Now"

"We thank those senators who courageously opposed telecom immunity and vow to them, and to the American people, that the fight for accountability over the president's illegal surveillance is not over," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. "Even though Congress has failed to protect the privacy of Americans and uphold the rule of law, we will not abandon our defense of liberty. We will fight this unconstitutional grant of immunity in the courtroom and in the Congress, requesting repeal of the immunity in the next session, while seeking justice from the Judiciary. Nor can the lawless officials who approved this massive violation of Americans' rights rest easy, for we will file a new suit against the government and challenge warrantless wiretapping, past, present and future."

Interesting. The comments echo remarks made by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on the Senate floor yesterday (Page S6409):

Today's effort is a naked intrusion into ongoing litigation. Where will that stop? Will Congress be able to rove at will through litigation anywhere in the judicial branch, picking winners and losers as we like? We don't just trespass on the separation of powers; we trespass onto dangerous ground.

If I were a litigant, I would challenge the constitutionality of the immunity provisions of this statute, and I would expect a good chance of winning.

So the telecoms were creating this public nuisance...

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.