The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Volokh Conspiracy

Where are the Section 215 cases?


I haven't been blogging much lately—I've been too busy, although I've been regularly sharing new cases and links over at my Twitter feed—but I wanted to flag a new post I wrote for Lawfare on the pending Section 215 cases. From the introduction:

Section 215, the law that has been interpreted to authorize the controversial bulk telephony metadata program, will sunset in about two months—on June 1, 2015—unless Congress acts. The White House recently confirmed that if Section 215 sunsets, the program will be shut down. I can't predict what Congress might do, but I think it's interesting to ponder one aspect of the story: Where are the circuit court rulings on Section 215, and what impact might their late arrival have on Congress and the Supreme Court?

Three circuits have heard oral argument on challenges to the bulk telephony metadata program. The Second Circuit held a long oral argument on September 2, 2014, almost seven months ago; the DC Circuit heard argument on November 4, 2014, almost five months ago; and the Ninth Circuit heard argument on December 9, 2014, almost four months ago.

So far, though, no decisions have been handed down. And there are only two more months to go before the provision sunsets.