ACLU Challenges New Wiretap Law

MANHATTAN (CN) – The ACLU claims the new wiretapping law is unconstitutional, and filed a federal lawsuit Thursday on behalf of journalists, human rights organizations and attorneys. It claims that warrantless wiretaps permitted by the law violate the 1st and 4th Amendments, and that the plaintiffs depend on confidential communications to do their jobs, and the broad powers of the law will compromise them.

     Congress approved the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 on Wednesday and President Bush signed it Thursday.
     In a separate but related case, the ACLU asked that any proceedings in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court regarding the scope, meaning or constitutionality of the law be conducted as publicly as possible, and that the court allow the ACLU to file a brief and participate in argument about the law, to order the government to file a public version of its legal briefs addressing the law’s constitutionality, and to publish any judicial decision about it.
     Plaintiffs in the first case include The Nation and reporters Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges; Amnesty International USA, Global Rights, Global Fund for Women, Human Rights Watch, PEN American Center, Service Employees International Union, Washington Office on Latin America, and the International Criminal Defence Attorneys Association; and attorneys Dan Arshack, David Nevin, Scott McKay and Sylvia Royce.

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