A federal appeals court ordered the dismissal Friday of a lawsuit challenging President Bush’s domestic spying program, saying the plaintiffs had no standing to sue.
The 2-1 ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel vacated a 2006 order by a federal judge in Detroit, who found that the post-Sept. 11 warrantless surveillance aimed at uncovering terrorist activity violated constitutional rights to privacy and free speech and the separation of powers.
U.S. Circuit Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, one of the two Republican appointees who ruled against the plaintiffs, said they failed to show they were subject to the surveillance.
The dissenting judge, Democratic appointee Ronald Lee Gilman, believed the plaintiffs were within their rights to sue and that it was clear to him the program violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.
I hope the ACLU is all over an appeal. It’s no wonder Bush acts as if he’s untouchable. Because he fucking is.
UPDATE: The ACLU responds. (Thanks, Rachel!)
“We are deeply disappointed by today’s decision that insulates the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance activities from judicial review and deprives Americans of any ability to challenge the illegal surveillance of their telephone calls and e-mails. As a result of today’s decision, the Bush administration has been left free to violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress adopted almost 30 years ago to prevent the executive branch from engaging in precisely this kind of unchecked surveillance.
“It is important to emphasize that the court today did not uphold the legality of the government’s warrantless surveillance activity. Indeed, the only judge to discuss the merits clearly and unequivocally declared that the warrantless surveillance was unlawful.
“We are currently reviewing all of our legal options, including taking this challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court. In the meantime it is now more important than ever for Congress to engage in meaningful oversight.”