Supreme Court to hear ACLU case challenging warrantless wiretap law FISA

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case launched by the ACLU against FISA, the warrantless wiretapping law used by the NSA.

The ACLU filed the original lawsuit in 2008 on behalf of a range of “attorneys and human rights, labor, legal and media organizations whose work requires them to engage in sensitive telephone and email communications with people outside the U.S., including colleagues, clients, sources, foreign officials and victims of human rights abuses.” The plaintiffs include Amnesty International USA, Human Rights Watch, PEN American Center, The Nation and the Service Employees International Union.

In 2011, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit rejected the Justice Department’s hilariously above-the-law argument: that the plaintiffs had to show they had been monitored, but also that the government could not be forced to disclose if the plaintiffs had been monitored.

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer had this to say of the Supreme Court’s announcement that they would hear the case:

The appeals court properly recognized that our clients have a reasonable basis to fear that the government may be monitoring their conversations, even though it has no reason to suspect them of having engaged in any unlawful activities. The constitutionality of the government’s surveillance powers can and should be tested in court. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree.

“Given the importance of this law, the Supreme Court’s decision to grant review is not surprising. What is disappointing is the Obama administration’s effort to insulate the broadest surveillance program ever enacted by Congress from meaningful judicial review,” said ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro.

Obama: change, hope, dig it.