Clinic News


Samuelson Clinic files Amicus Brief in Jewel v. NSA

The UC Berkeley Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic has filed an amicus brief in Jewel v. NSA—a case alleging and challenging mass electronic surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA).  The brief, which urges the court to review the legality of the NSA's domestic surveillance programs, was filed on behalf of Clinic client People for the American Way Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit citizen organization established to promote and protect civil and constitutional rights.

The Jewel case was filed by a group of plaintiffs, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), after NSA whistle-blowers revealed that the NSA was actively monitoring the domestic communications of millions of innocent Americans. The government has sought to block the suit outright, claiming that litigation would reveal state secrets and harm the national security—despite the fact that Congress already created secure procedures for courts to review sensitive evidence in suits alleging unlawful domestic surveillance. As the Clinic’s brief explains, the government’s argument goes too far, and “directly contravenes Congress’s intent and our constitutional system of checks and balances.”

The Clinic’s client, the People For the American Way Foundation, is a non-partisan, non-profit citizen organization established to promote and protect civil and constitutional rights, with hundreds of thousands of activists and members nationwide. One of People for the American Way’s primary missions is to educate the public on the vital importance of our nation's tradition of liberty and freedom, and to defend that tradition through research, advocacy, outreach, and litigation. Samuelson Clinic student Jose de Wit worked with supervisor Babak Siavoshy in preparing the brief.

Read the amicus brief here.