Amicus Brief in Hepting v. AT&T

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Samuelson Clinic filed amicus brief in Hepting v. AT&T on behalf of People for the American Way Foundation.

The Samuelson Clinic submitted a brief Amicus Curiae on behalf of People for the American Way Foundation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Hepting v. AT&T, the class action lawsuit accusing the telecom company of violating the law and privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in a massive program to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance of Americans’ communications.

The brief focused on the legislative history of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and argued that the legislative history shows that Congress made a determined judgement to provide for judicial oversight of foreign intelligence electronic surveillance. In light of this history, the attempt by AT&T and the government to have the case dismissed by invoking the state secrets privilege “belies the plain language of the statute and its legislative history, and it ignores the gross abuses of civil liberties that inspired FISA’s passage along with the constitutional principle that Congress can and must use its legislative powers to act as a check against the Executive branch.”