Supreme Court rejects challenges to wiretapping law
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – The Supreme Court on Tuesday voted 5-4 to reject a challenge to a 2008 federal law authorizing the government to intercept international calls of Americans.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. ruled that no harm was done to journalists, lawyers and human rights advocates who challenged the law and their fear of being subjected to surveillance in the future is speculative.
Alito rejected the plaintiffs’ arguments that they escaped surveillance by traveling to meet clients in person instead of talking to them over the phone.
Dissenting Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the harm claimed by the plaintiffs is not speculative and is likely to take place. Also dissenting were Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
The case, Clapper v. Amnesty International (AI), No. 11-1025, stemmed from a 2008 law amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows electronic spying without warrants to help pursue terrorists.
Aside from AI, the plaintiffs were the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups and individuals, including journalists and lawyers who represent prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The plaintiffs claimed wiretapping violated their Fourth Amendment rights.