This morning we received good news; the Supreme Court has just agreed to consider whether plaintiffs represented by the ACLU have the right to challenge the constitutionality of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, a controversial law that authorizes the National Security Agency to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international emails and phone calls. ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said: “The constitutionality of the government’s surveillance powers can and should be tested in court. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will agree.”
As for our work on the Hill, the House is recess from May 21-29, but the Senate is keeping us busy this week. Of note, the Paycheck Fairness Act is expected to come to the Senate floor for a vote the week of June4. In anticipation of the vote, the Paycheck Fairness Act Coalition will hold days of action, including Hill call-ins and a Twitter chat at 2pm ET on June 22. To participate in the Twitter chat, follow the hashtag #equalpay.
Monday, May 21
Criminal Justice Reform: The ACLU will host a Congressional briefing titled, Promising Beginnings: What Congress Can Learn from Bipartisan Criminal Justice Reform in Key States at 2 p.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building 562. The panel will feature Republican and Democrat state legislators who achieved bipartisan criminal justice reform in their state. Additionally, the Washington Legislative Office Director Laura Murphy will offer opening remarks and the panel will be moderated by ACLU Deputy Legal Director Vanita Gupta.
We live tweeted today from the briefing. Check out @ACLULive
on Twitter to read through our Tweets.
Tuesday, May 22
Immigration: The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the FY2013 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.
FY2013 Appropriations: The State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee (Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-VT) of Senate Appropriations Committee will mark up draft legislation that would make fiscal 2013 appropriations for the State Department, foreign operations and related programs and agencies. The ACLU will monitor for items of interest.
Wednesday, May 23
Reproductive Rights/National Security/Detention: The Senate Armed Services Committee will begin its markup of the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act and will continue the markup on May 24 and 25.
Employment: On May 23, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and other senators will be holding a press conference on the Paycheck Fairness Act in the Senate side of the Capitol Visitor Center at 2:30 p.m. ET. Senior Legislative Counsel Deb Vagins will be speaking.