Surveillance

Court Arguments Reveal How Wiretapping Works Under FISA

"Extraordinarily wide-reaching power," says Justice Kennedy

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On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Clapper v. Amnesty, an important case that will decide if the ACLU's challenge to the FISA Amendments Act—the law passed in the wake of the NSA warrantless wiretapping scandal—can go forward.  The Court will essentially determine whether any court, short of a government admission, can rule on whether the NSA's targeted warrantless surveillance of Americans' international communications violates the Constitution.1

In Clapper, the plaintiffs — journalists, human rights workers, and lawyers  — filed the lawsuit because the statute prevents them from doing their job without taking substantial measures when communicating to overseas witnesses, sources and clients. EFF has previously explained how the FISA Amendments Act gives the government an unconstitutional license to read any emails or other electronic communications coming into and out of the United States. So let's hear the Supreme Court Justices, in their own words, explain how invasive the law really is.