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The Courts Communications Government Privacy United States

Supreme Court Disallows FISA Challenges 306

New submitter ThatsNotPudding writes "The U.S. Supreme court has rejected pleas to allow any challenges to the FISA wiretapping law unless someone can prove they've been harmed by it. 'The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, was originally designed to allow spying on the communications of foreign powers. But after the September 11 attacks, FISA courts were authorized to target a wide array of international communications, including communications between Americans and foreigners. ... In this case, the plaintiffs' groups said their communications were likely being scooped up by the government's expanded spying powers in violation of their constitutional rights. Today's decision, a 5-4 vote along ideological lines by the nation's highest court, definitively ends their case. In an opinion (PDF) by Justice Samuel Alito, the court ruled that these groups don't have the right to sue at all, because they can't prove they were being spied on.'" Further coverage at SCOTUSblog.
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Supreme Court Disallows FISA Challenges

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  • FOIA, anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:24PM (#43020173)
    Attack from a different direction. They'll probably shoot that down too, but play the game. Attack, attack, attack until something works.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:36PM (#43020259)

    I guess if you found yourself in Gitmo you could prove you were harmed.

    If you could ever get in front of a judge.

    Oh well.

  • by amRadioHed ( 463061 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:37PM (#43020265)

    You can't just sue over the constitutionality of a law, you still need to have standing which based on the result of this case the majority believes they lack.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:38PM (#43020281)
    If you must be harmed by it to complain, then the only test cases would come from terrorists, thus the "people" would either have to root for draconian government or terrorists. That will let the judges officially allow it against those with standing to sue, not enough will be annoyed to end the tyranny of the government. Note, it allows for people to sue, they just must have proof they were harmed, and only someone arrested after government spying will have a case. Any other attempts (FOIA and such) will be met with "national security" defense, which is still iron clad.
  • Re:Recap (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amorsen ( 7485 ) <> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @08:47PM (#43020339)

    I am afraid you got the last line wrong.

    Gov: We spy on Americans in secret.
    Me: Stop spying on me
    Gov: You can't prove that we did
    Gov: *middle finger*

  • by hugg ( 22953 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @09:15PM (#43020537)

    Hopefully the President will still get the chance to appoint more progressives to the Supreme Court to protect us from his policies.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @09:23PM (#43020589) Journal

    The court is part of the government. Do not expect them to uphold our rights.


  • by jamstar7 ( 694492 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @09:24PM (#43020595)
    But to prove your rights were violated by a FISA investigation is impossible under the grounds of national security. Catch 22 writ large enough for anyone to see.
  • by cusco ( 717999 ) <> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @10:11PM (#43020871)
    Are you of the opinion that the Democratic party is not conservative? Obama is far to the right of even Richard Nixon, there aren't more than a handful of congresscritters who would qualify as 'liberal'.
  • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @10:11PM (#43020873) Homepage Journal

    Repubmocrat Tyranny

    "Today's decision, a 5-4 vote along ideological lines by the nation's highest court, definitively ends their case."

    "In an opinion by Justice Samuel Alito ... The majority opinion was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Anthony Kennedy, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts ... [Breyer] is joined in a dissent by Justices Ruth Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan."

    False equivalence is false.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @10:18PM (#43020927)

    In america is it. And perhaps sweden now.

    Not so for the REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD. Note america is slipping from civilized to simply a bunch of backwaters with hi tech.

    Stop. Think.

    Wait a little longer.

    OK. Explain in small words for me what's so special about where you live vs. the US that makes it impossible to happen there.

    Is it your Constitution or other founding document or your principles of rule of law?

    Is it because your people have a history of defending liberty and justice?

    Is it because your country is the exception to the rule? It can't happen here?

    Because we had that stuff in the US. And it happened here.

    Do you want to know the secret to letting it happen to you? I'll tell you. Just go on spouting off about how special you are and how dumb someone else is and how it'll never happen to you because you wouldn't let that happen there like that other stupid country with those stupid, arrogant people did.

    Because, ya. We had all that, too.

    But don't worry. Maybe everything will be fine. I didn't mean to alarm you.

  • by hottoh ( 540941 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @10:19PM (#43020937)
    What our fine Judge Alito said is it is ok to trespass, just don't get caught. Ok, it is a bit more complicated than that.

    Example. A neighbor sneaks in to Judge Alito's unlocked home. Judge cannot prosecute the neighbor's trespass, because Judge Alito cannot prove the neighbor had trespassed because it is legal to trespass secretly. Even though the neighbor has records to each and every trespassing, the records seem to be off limits as well.

    That is effed up.
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @10:38PM (#43021023)
    Ever wonder why every speech case is from pornographers and such? The government picks edge cases to get a general ruling against a right. Like pornographers, terrorists make convenient targets. When they came for the pornographers, I didn't speak up, for I didn't want my wife to know. When they came for the terrorists, I didn't speak up for I wasn't a murdering nutcase. When they came for me, there was nobody left to speak up.

    The names are changing, but the plan hasn't. and it isn't party related. The Dems are Reps both follow the plan together. Nothing can stop it now, the people seem happy with the plan and the results.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @11:24PM (#43021239)


    The insignificant fleas that ride on the back of the state are just that: tiny. To understand reality, one must understand its rules, the relevant one to this discussion being the axiom of identity. Blaming those with no armies, no courts, no bombs, no police, no jails, and no permission from the ruled is a sort of blindness that can only be the result of a lifetime of propaganda and cultural pressure. This is big brother in its full glory. Not in plain view and direct, but so infused with society that there are actually people who would condemn benefactors of this violent intrusion rather than the violent actor.

    To even mention things like the 'Koch brothers' in the face of such an enormous monstrosity like the state is an admission of psychological defense. It would be like blaming the shop keeper who pays off the local mafia to keep himself safe, or blaming the more sinister man who bribes them to kill a competitor. These actions are an effect of the violence that infests such a community, not the cause. To understand the world, one must call things by their proper name; the actor responsible for waving guns around, terrorizing innocent people is the one responsible for the evil. The state, like the mafia, is the institution that contains this group of actors.

  • by evanism ( 600676 ) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @11:28PM (#43021269) Journal

    the USA is utterly doomed.

    It is in its death spiral.

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:22AM (#43021497) Journal

    As much as I think Ayn Rand was a total hypocrite and a whackjob this is the ONE thing she got right, there are so many laws on the books now that frankly we are ALL criminals and at any time, for any slight, they can throw you in prison for as many years as they like simply because the laws are such a minefield now that just by breathing you are probably violating a dozen statutes.

    I mean for the love of God we have no less than 2 people in prison even as we speak for thoughtcrimes folks, how much more proof do you need that Orwell got the time a little off but otherwise was right on the money? You have the guy who wrote the "pro pedo" book, he wasn't charged with actually DOING anything, just putting his thoughts on the subject in book form, and the second was a guy that was told by his therapist to write his fantasies about sleeping with underage girls down so they could discuss them in therapy. Again he didn't actually DO anything, he just put his thoughts on paper.

    This is why I have always tried to support the ACLU and speak up, just as my grandfather taught me when he spoke up in support of the right of the Illinois Nazis to march even though Nazis dropped a wall on him and his squad at the end of WWII and he spent 2 years in a full body cast, its because you HAVE to support those with the unpopular cases because THOSE are how they get these bad laws rammed down our throats. Pedos, terrorists, racists, they use these as bogeymen precisely because they know how few will speak up for fear of looking like they support their views. Here is a perfect example, a law they ran through after the tragedy of 9/11 under the guise of "We must make sure it never happens again!" but government NEVER gets smaller or weaker, only bigger and more powerful, so now we are seeing these laws used as a blank check to spy on anybody that looks at them funny.

    But its NOT the weapons training that makes the fascists fear the vet, its the fact that those who have suffered for their freedoms are the ones who covet it most dearly. As I said if anybody had a reason to hate Nazis it was my grandfather, the stories of what he went through, of having the PAK 88 used upon them, of seeing bodies blown to bits, yet he was the first to step up and tell all those around him "They deserve the right to speak, no matter what we feel about their speech they have the right to be heard" and THAT is what scares the fascist, the fact that the vets won't kowtow and will stand up and point out their lies.

  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @12:25AM (#43021517)
    When both sides who pretend publicly to hate each other agree on 99% of everything, what am I suppose do think? Just focus on abortion and gay marriage like they want me to? Oh yes, there are a handful of "moral" issues they have all sorts of press about to focus on the differences, rather than the similarities, but they are more similar than dissimilar. In most other countries, they'd be so close together that they'd be the coalition government. From an outside perspective, where you don't hear political talk radio or which Republican anti-gay activist slept with his male page today, you end up seeing them as essentially the same.
  • Dude.

    America has no "Left".

  • Re:FOIA, anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rakarra ( 112805 ) on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @08:52AM (#43023239)

    The thing that no libertarian has been able to answer for me convinced me it would be nothing but some sort of neo-feudalism which is thus: If I have money, and no law to stop me, WTF is gonna keep me from just hiring my own goon squad and helping myself to your land, your women, or any other damned thing I want?

    Not a libertarian, but I can answer that easily enough -- your situation is anarchy, not libertarianism. Libertarians believe in a strong police force and legal system to enforce private property rights and punish violence. It's one of the very few things a libertarian thinks government is necessary for.

  • Re:FOIA, anyone? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 27, 2013 @10:02AM (#43023737)

    Classless societies, treating everyone equally, etc. is not what Locke wrote about. Created equal, yes. But once you're past creation, and especially once you've created a system of money, all bets are off. Anyone who acquires money is free to acquire as much money as they want, and do damn near whatever they want with it. Classes very much emerge in a system like this -- the people with lots of money, and the people without. It's not the sort of class system that Britain had (and still retains elements of), or the caste system of India, but it's a class system nonetheless -- the sort of class system that we have under capitalism (which only emerged some time after Locke's death).

    Oh, yeah, and you can have slaves, as long as you decided to be merciful and not kill them (such as prisoners of war). If you were in a position to 'legitimately' kill someone and decide not to, then by all means they're your slave according to Locke. Roughly "Good night, I'll probably kill you in the morning.".

    And modern Libertarians? They're really just anarchists who still believe in money.

"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban