Judge: NSA domestic phone data-mining unconstitutional
December 16th, 2013
02:40 PM ET
1 year ago

Judge: NSA domestic phone data-mining unconstitutional

(CNN) - A federal judge said Monday that he believes the government's once-secret collection of domestic phone records is unconstitutional, setting up likely appeals and further challenges to the data mining revealed by classified leaker Edward Snowden.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said the National Security Agency's bulk collection of metadata - phone records of the time and numbers called without any disclosure of content - apparently violates privacy rights.

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soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    an appointee of President George W. Bush.
    ---------------------------------------
    Enough said!

    December 16, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Tampa Tim

    A Bush appointee strikes down a Bush program. This means that the domestic terrorists will want Snowden to run for president. Snowden/Putin 2016

    December 16, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. ST

    Is it constitutional to let any citizen die by the negligence of their leaders not taking any action to protect them? I do not think anyone would opt to live holding such a constitution, regardless how old it has been!

    December 16, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. cumulus

    Another nut case judge, auditioning for advancement, too bad the gop is out of power soon. It seems the judge wants his fifteen minutes, let's start counting shall we?

    December 16, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Dutch wrote:

    "an appointee of President George W. Bush."

    Enough said!
    -------------------
    Republicans. Enough said! Had Bush been in office, this ruling would have went against Bush.

    December 16, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  6. Obama - Liar of the Year

    Good! Lines must be drawn on this stuff. Wholesale data collection/surveillance on American citizens by the government has to be stopped. Our privacy needs to be protected from these government spies.

    December 16, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. Fair is Fair

    Good deal!

    December 16, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. tom l

    There was a time when liberals on here would have cheered this decision. Now? Not so much. Their guy is president so IOIYAD

    December 16, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. just asking

    looks like the lefties in here hate privacy. i guess they think the government should have carte blanche to invade your privacy even though they have no warrant and you are not doing anything illegal. scary people to put in cotrol of your government.

    December 16, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Gurgyl

    If is is for the good of the nation, notwithstanding any laws passed, will have a superseding effect. Judge ought to have known this.

    December 16, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. Doug in NYC

    Does this also repeal the special law, passed under Bush by the way, that protects the phone carriers from lawsuits?

    December 16, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. smith

    The collection of domestic telephone communication records has outlived its usefullness. The terrorist and criminal element have adapted. Still, Im sure the goverment will be listening in from time to time.

    December 16, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  13. S.B. Stein

    There has to be a balance with security and freedom. The question is how to best hold the information so that if it is needed, then those that can do the analysis have the data. I don't know if there is any really good safe place to put it. The phone companies aren't exactly trust worthy while the NSA could be used potentially politically.

    December 16, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. rs

    This one won't be done until the SCOTUS has a say.

    December 16, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    Aaaaw, how cute...he wants to get to the SCOTUS when the next GOPer manages to take the WH. And here he is showing that he can ignore precedent like a champ, which is a primary prerequisite of garnering nominations from conservatives. His decision appears to make a mockery of and completely ignore Smith v. Maryland and US v. Miller before it. Will CNN and the MSM inform you about those cases? NOPE.

    December 16, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    The only thing the ruling says is that the state needs to make a better case for the surveillance, not that the surveillance was wrong. The people prepared to wear the Snowden T-Shirts will be disappointed once they dig into the ruling and see what it really means.

    December 16, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    Most conceptualizations of a preliminary injunction standard require proving a "substantial likelihood of success on the merits." Based on what he says in the opinion, Judge Leon is clearly arguing that existing precedent should be overruled and changed. He is essentially relying on an argument that precedent is wrong and should be changed in order to help the plaintiff (conservative activist Larry Klayman) prove a "substantial likelihood of success on the merits." This kind of circular logic inherently admits that the standard for granting he preliminary injunction is not met under the current laws as they exist.

    To put it in simpler terms: he basically just reasoned that the preliminary injunction should issue because, even though existing law says it shouldn't, the law should be changed so that it should. It's about as activist as it gets.
    .

    December 16, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "This one won't be done until the SCOTUS has a say."

    Well, this judge is bending over backwards to tee it up for them, I can tell you that.

    December 16, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "To put it in simpler terms: he basically just reasoned that the preliminary injunction should issue because, even though existing law says it shouldn't, the law should be changed so that it should. It's about as activist as it gets."

    And just to so you don't forget: this "I disagree with SCOTUS precedent, so I'm going to rule in some other way and hopefully that gets my decision to the SCOTUS so the current SCOTUS can change the law the way we want it" is precisely how the conservatives hope to attack things like Roe v. Wade. Bad decision, ignore precedent, etc. etc. , force it back to the SCOTUS and then have the conservative SCOTUS toss out all the precedent that you just ignored and say "screw all the precedent...we now declare he was right and all that precedent is overruled."

    December 16, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    looks like the lefties in here hate privacy. i guess they think the government should have carte blanche to invade your privacy even though they have no warrant and you are not doing anything illegal. scary people to put in cotrol of your government.
    ---------------------
    Tell that to the next state trooper that you see sitting along the highway. Most of you do not even know what metadata is. It's data that describes data, but not the actual data itself. Imagine the state trooper counting the number of cars of various colors that pass by per hour, but he cannot see into the cars. He measure the speed of the cars passing by, but he cannot see into the cars. When the state trooper spots something unusual, then the acts upon it. The trooper is looking at the metadata packages [cars] that carry data [passengers and cargo]. Same difference with the phone calls.

    December 16, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "There was a time when liberals on here would have cheered this decision. Now? Not so much. Their guy is president so IOIYAD"

    Where in anything I've said does it indicate that disagreement with this decision has anything to do with who is president? His proper decision was to deny the preliminary injunction and ;et the plaintiff appeal THAT, not grant a preliminary injunction that goes against precedent and is based on "but I think the law should say this instead."

    December 16, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. Obama - Liar of the Year

    Sniffit
    To put it in simpler terms: he basically just reasoned that the preliminary injunction should issue because, even though existing law says it shouldn't, the law should be changed so that it should. It's about as activist as it gets.
    ---

    An "activist" judge protecting the privacy rights of American citizens from an out of control federal government??? ABOUT TIME!!! Well done Judge! WELL DONE!!

    December 16, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Gurgyl

    @obama-liar, could you just shut up, Bush lied that caused TRILLIONS OF LOOTING USA TREASURY, WRONG WAR, NO WMD.

    December 16, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "To put it in simpler terms: he basically just reasoned that the preliminary injunction should issue because, even though existing law says it shouldn't, the law should be changed so that it should. It's about as activist as it gets.
    -

    An "activist" judge protecting the privacy rights of American citizens from an out of control federal government??? ABOUT TIME!!! Well done Judge! WELL DONE!!"

    Yeah, because the entire foundation of the judicial system, stare decisis, res judicata, etc., should all be thrown out the window whenever you can't get your way. The judge had one proper ruling to make here: deny the preliminary injunction based on existing law and let the plaintiff, Klayman, appeal the denial. He flipped the law on its head in order to grant the injunction and change the posture of the case to give an advantage to the plaintiff on appeal.

    What happened to all the conservatives screaming and yelling about "enforce the existing laws"? Hmmm? Judge Leon clearly went over the political activism line here and inserted his own beliefs in place of the law. It doesn't matter which side is doing it...it's still damaging to the judiciary.

    December 16, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    -just asking

    looks like the lefties in here hate privacy. i guess they think the government should have carte blanche to invade your privacy even though they have no warrant and you are not doing anything illegal. scary people to put in cotrol of your government
    ****************
    As usual, missed the point.

    December 16, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |