February 26, 2013

Surveillance Forever! [5:11 pm]

Clapper v. Amnesty International — apparently, “chilling effects” are not sufficient to give standing when seeking an injunction against sweeping surveillance.

[...] Respondents — attorneys and human rights, labor, legal, and media organizations — are United States persons who claim that they engage in sensitive international communications with individuals who they believe are likely targets of §1881a surveillance. On the day that the FISA Amendments Act was enacted, they filed suit, seeking a declaration that §1881a is facially unconstitutional and a permanent injunction against §1881a-authorized surveillance. The District Court found that respondents lacked standing, but the Second Circuit reversed, holding that respondents showed (1) an “objectively reasonable likelihood” that their communications will be intercepted at some time in the future, and (2) that they are suffering present injuries resulting from costly and burdensome measures they take to protect the confidentiality of their international communications from possible ยง1881a surveillance.

Held: Respondents do not have Article III standing. [...]

[...] ALITO, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA, KENNEDY, and THOMAS, JJ., joined. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined.

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