University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name In re Motion for Release of Court Records NS-DC-0059
Docket / Court Misc. 07-01 ( FISC )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) National Security
Special Collection Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Foreign Targeting (702, 703, 704)
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
On August 9, 2007, the ACLU filed a motion with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) requesting release of the Court's records regarding the government's surveillance of foreign terrorists. Specifically, the ACLU requested release of sealed orders from January 10, 2007, and any ... read more >
On August 9, 2007, the ACLU filed a motion with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court) requesting release of the Court's records regarding the government's surveillance of foreign terrorists. Specifically, the ACLU requested release of sealed orders from January 10, 2007, and any government briefs or subsequent orders connected with the January 10 orders. The ACLU argued that, like any other federal court, the FISA Court had the authority to unseal its own documents, and that there was a substantial public interest as well as a First Amendment interest in release of those records to the public.

On August 31, 2007, the government responded to the ACLU's request, arguing that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the ACLU's motion, and that the public had no right of access to the information in the sealed documents.

In an order dated December 11, 2007, the FISA Court (Judge John D. Bates) held that while the Court did have jurisdiction to hear the motion, there was no First Amendment nor common law right of access to the sealed records. Therefore, the Court declined to unseal any of the records the ACLU was requesting.

On December 12, 2014, DOJ, in conjuction with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) declassified redacted versions of four FISA Court orders from early 2007, including two January 10 orders, as well as two government memoranda relating to the surveillance orders. For a discussion of the contents of those documents, see NS-DC-50 in this Clearinghouse.

Edward Mroczkowski - 05/04/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Courts
Other
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) US Government
Plaintiff Description ACLU
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Links Guest Post: New Resource — Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse FISA Archives
Just Security
Posted: Jun. 26, 2014
By: Margo Schlanger
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Motion of the American Civil Liberties Union for Release of Court Records 08/08/2007
NS-DC-0059-0001.pdf | Detail
Scheduling Order 08/16/2007 (FISC)
NS-DC-0059-0002.pdf | Detail
Opposition for the American Civil Liberties Union's Motion for Release of Court Records 08/31/2007
NS-DC-0059-0003.pdf | Detail
Reply of the American Civil Liberties Union in Support of Motion for Release of Court Records 09/14/2007
NS-DC-0059-0004.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Opinion 12/11/2007 (526 F.Supp.2d 484) (FISC)
NS-DC-0059-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Bates, John D. (FISC, D.D.C., D.C. Circuit)
NS-DC-0059-0005
Kollar-Kotelly, Colleen (D.D.C., FISC)
NS-DC-0059-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bargzie, Nasrina (California)
NS-DC-0059-0004
Goodman, Melissa (New York)
NS-DC-0059-0001 | NS-DC-0059-0004
Jaffer, Jameel (New York)
NS-DC-0059-0001 | NS-DC-0059-0004
Kolbi-Molinas, Alexa Rebecca (New York)
NS-DC-0059-0001
Shapiro, Steven R. (New York)
NS-DC-0059-0001 | NS-DC-0059-0004
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0059-0001 | NS-DC-0059-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Anzaldi, Matthew A. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0059-0003
Demers, John C. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0059-0003
Olsen, Matthew G. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0059-0003
Patterson, Nicholas J. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0059-0003
Other Lawyers None on record

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