CCR Comments on Supreme Court Surveillance Decision

February 26, 2013, New York – Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) released the following statement in response to the Supreme Court’s dismissal of a case challenging the expansion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act:

The Center for Constitutional Rights is disappointed in the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision denying journalists, human rights organizations and attorneys the right to challenge an overreaching and possibly unconstitutional surveillance law that targets Americans without probable cause. The Court’s decision, while narrow, puts up unnecessary and technical hurdles to challenging the legality of this controversial program. The opinion of the four dissenting justices reflects a better understanding of the judiciary’s role in questioning and checking the legality of Executive Branch surveillance practices. We will continue to challenge the surveillance of Americans in our case currently pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Center for Constitutional Rights v. Obama.
The case, initially filed as Center for Constitutional Rights v. Bush, sought an injunction ordering the government to end the National Security Association’s warrantless wiretapping program. When, in response, the government claimed it had shut down the program in January 2007, CCR challenged the new statute, the Protect America Act, under which President Bush sought to carry out similar programs of surveillance without individualized suspicion. The current claims in the case ask the court to order the government to destroy any records of surveillance that it still retains from the illegal NSA program.

The Ninth Circuit had originally scheduled oral argument in Center for Constitutional Rights v. Obama for June 1, 2012, but when the Supreme Court agreed last May to hear today’s case, Clapper v. Obama, brought by the ACLU, the judges postponed argument in CCR’s case until the Clapper decision. The Ninth Circuit may now request supplemental briefs in light of the Supreme Court’s decision and reschedule argument.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


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February 26, 2013