US Supreme Court rejects electronic eavesdropping case
WASHINGTON — The US Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a lawsuit brought by human rights groups and others challenging a US government electronic surveillance program set up after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
In a 5-4 ruling the justices said the plaintiffs — which include Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) — had no legal standing to bring the case because they could not prove that they personally suffered from the government program.
The program at issue is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which was expanded in 2008 to let US intelligence agencies monitor international phone calls and emails in hopes of thwarting potential terrorist plots.
The justices did not address whether the program is constitutional, but rather whether the plaintiffs could present their constitutional challenge.
The decision was split along ideological lines, with the conservative majority ruling in favor and the four moderate judges voting against.
In the case, Clapper vs. Amnesty International, the administration of President Barack Obama asked the top US court to throw out the suit.