Well, it broke yesterday, but I've not seen any diaries about it. A federal judge in the God-love-the-9th-circuit has ruled the EFF's case against the NSA may go forward.
San Francisco, CA - infoZine - A federal judge rejected the U.S. government's latest attempt to dismiss the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) long-running challenge to the government's illegal dragnet surveillance programs. This ruling means the allegations at the heart of the Jewel case move forward under the supervision of a public federal court.An initial status conference is set for August 23. Let's hope the People have their day in a real court after all, not the artificial, non-adversarial abomination that is the FISC. And, what a blessing to read this without Snowden's name being invoked in the article. It's about the message, not the messenger and this case pre-dates Snowden's revelations, though his whistle-blowing seems to be proving to be a tipping point.
"The court rightly found that the traditional legal system can determine the legality of the mass, dragnet surveillance of innocent Americans and rejected the government's invocation of the state secrets privilege to have the case dismissed," said Cindy Cohn, EFF's Legal Director. "Over the last month, we came face-to-face with new details of mass, untargeted collection of phone and Internet records, substantially confirmed by the Director of National Intelligence. Today's decision sets the stage for finally getting a ruling that can stop the dragnet surveillance and restore Americans' constitutional rights."
I hope this is just the start. Surely there are plenty of judges out there very uncomfortable with an unaccountable alternative judicial system. The FISC makes a mockery out of the entire concept of what we in the U.S. think of in terms of what defines a court. There is no one speaking on behalf of the opposition, no process for appeals and no ability by the public for redress due to the invocation of a catchall "national security" exception, where the claimed potential harm may not even be questioned. I wonder if in this case, the Executive branch will ignore the Court and claim the real, Constitutionally based court has no jurisdiction due to national security.
UPDATE 2: An exceptional level of background, detail and a far superior diary on this topic was just called to my attention by its author and is linked here: Garrett
UPDATE 3: By the way, if you've not read this Op-Ed by John Tirman, Executive Director of MIT Center for International Studies, it frames the importance of this and related cases now before the real courts: The Quiet Coup: No, Not Egypt. Here.