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Just to wrap things up on FISA...more litigation

President Bush signed H.R. 6304, the FISA Amendments Act, into law Thursday. His statement from the signing ceremony is here. The ACLU and aggrieved allies immediately filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeking a court order that declares the law unconstitutional and ordering its immediate halt. From the ACLU's news release:

"Spying on Americans without warrants or judicial approval is an abuse of government power - and that's exactly what this law allows. The ACLU will not sit by and let this evisceration of the Fourth Amendment go unchallenged," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "Electronic surveillance must be conducted in a constitutional manner that affords the greatest possible protection for individual privacy and free speech rights. The new wiretapping law fails to provide fundamental safeguards that the Constitution unambiguously requires."

The complaint in Amnesty v. McDonnell is available here.

As this New York Sun story notes, the ACLU suit does not take on the civil immunity for telecom companies included in H.R. 6304. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is not a party to the ACLU suit; perhaps the group takes the lead in the private-sector litigation. (The private sector issues are the ones that interested us.) For now, EFF is excoriating the new law as a means to raise money.

More background following passage of H.R. 6304:

UPDATE (2:05 p.m.): Orrin Kerr comments at The Volokh Conspiracy, "The New FISA Law -- and the Misleading Media Coverage Of It."

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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.