ACLU Prepares for Court Hearing in Landmark NSA Wiretapping Challenge

June 1, 2006 12:00 am

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June 1, 2006


Latest Development: Court Tells Government It Must Defend Legality of the Program and Make “State Secrets” Argument Later

NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union will hold a briefing for reporters on Tuesday, June 6 to discuss the first-ever court hearing on whether the National Security Agency’s controversial warrantless surveillance program is constitutional.

The ACLU filed the landmark lawsuit in January against the NSA in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, seeking to stop a secret electronic surveillance program that has been in place since shortly after September 11, 2001. Judge Anna Diggs Taylor will hear oral arguments in the case on June 12, 2006.

In an order issued late yesterday, Judge Taylor postponed until July 10 any argument on the government’s request to dismiss the case on state secrets grounds. The judge noted that the government had not bothered to submit briefs on the legality of the program, but said she would allow them to present arguments on June 12 “if they appear.” Until now, courts that have looked at the NSA spying program have not addressed the underlying constitutional issues.

The ACLU briefing will provide members of the media with the latest background on its legal challenge and related legislative initiatives, survey the landscape of other NSA wiretapping cases and give reporters a first look at new legal documents to be filed by the ACLU late in the day on June 5.

Judge Taylor’s order is available at:

For more information on the ACLU’s lawsuit, including legal documents and client statements, go to

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