The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a lawsuit brought by lawyers, journalists and civil rights organizations challenging the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act which allows for the government to eavesdrop on telephone and email communications between people in the United states and foreign countries without a warrant. The plaintiffs claim that the fear that they may be intercepted causes them to adopt costly measures to avoid having their communications intercepted. The Supreme Court is not considering the legalchicity of this law. Rather, they are considering whether the plaintiff's in this case have the legal standing to even bring such a lawsuit. The warrant-less wiretapping program was put into effect by President Bush after the terrorist attacks on 9/11 without any Congressional authority. The program ended in 2007 but was reinstated by Congress in 2008. The government is claiming that the plaintiffs cannot show that they have personally been harmed by the measure or by any wiretapping. The plaintiffs argue that nobody could ever know if they are being wiretapped and that some of the people being listened in to would be foreign nationals who would not be allowed to contest the law anyway. The decision in this case is not going to resolve this issue anyway. The court is not considering the legality of this law at this time and even if it were to ever have to consider the legality of the law, the government could always claim that any challenge to the law would involve exposing state secrets.
The case is Clapper v. Amnesty International.
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