ACLU Suit Challenges NSA Surveillance; Sen. Paul Plans Class Action Suit

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
06/12/2013
       
ACLU Suit Challenges NSA Surveillance; Sen. Paul Plans Class Action Suit

On Tuesday the ACLU filed a suit against the NSA, and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) plans to file a class action lawsuit challenging the NSA's wholesale surveillance of millions of Americans' phone records.

On a “daily, ongoing basis,” the National Security Agency unconstitutionally collects the phone log data of millions of Americans. Additionally, through an operation known as PRISM, the federal government’s surveillance apparatus is reportedly directly tapping into the servers of some of the nation’s biggest computer companies: Google, Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft, and others.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) believes that the Supreme Court should be called upon to rule on the constitutionality of these surveillance programs.

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday on June 9, Paul said that he plans to file a class action lawsuit against the Obama administration, demanding it provide legal justification for the recently revealed wholesale watching of millions of citizens not suspected of any crime.

“I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level,” Paul said, according to the show transcript.

“I’m going to be asking all the Internet providers and all of the phone companies, ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit. If we get 10 million Americans saying 'We don’t want our phone records looked at,' then somebody will wake up and say things will change in Washington.”

When asked by host Chris Wallace why he considered the NSA’s surveillance unconstitutional, Paul responded:

Well, you know, they're looking at a billion phone calls a day is what I read in the press and that doesn't sound to me like a modest invasion of privacy. It sounds like an extraordinary invasion of privacy. The Fourth Amendment says you can look at and ask for a warrant specific to a person, place and the items.

This is a general warrant. This is what we objected to and what our Founding Fathers partly fought the revolution over is they did not want generalized warrants where you could go from house to house with soldiers looking for things or now from computer to computer, to phone to phone, without specifying who you're targeting.

Specifically, the Fourth Amendment states that the “right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

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