University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Center for Constitutional Rights v. Obama NS-CA-0005
Docket / Court 3:07-cv-01115-VRW ( N.D. Cal. )
Additional Docket(s) 1:06-cv-00313-GEL  [ 06-313 ]
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) National Security
Special Collection Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- All Matters
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Internet Metadata
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Telephony Metadata
Attorney Organization Center for Constitutional Rights
Case Summary
On January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights and five of its attorneys who represented clients suspected of involvement with terrorist organizations, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the National Security Agency, Defense ... read more >
On January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights and five of its attorneys who represented clients suspected of involvement with terrorist organizations, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the National Security Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Homeland Security, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The plaintiffs originally sought an injunction that would prohibit the government from conducting warrantless surveillance of communications in the U.S, claiming that such surveillance violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA"), the Separation of Powers doctrine, and the First and Fourth Amendments. Plaintiffs based these allegations primarily upon statements by President George W. Bush and other government officials in December 2005 admitting that the NSA had monitored, without a warrant, communications between the U.S. and a foreign country where one of the parties was believed to be a member or affiliate of al-Qa'ida. FISA explicitly authorized electronic surveillance for the purposes of collecting foreign intelligence only upon orders issued by federal judges on a special court.

By January 2007, the government claimed to have shut down the surveillance program, having received approval from a FISA Court judge to carry out the same surveillance pursuant to court order. (On re-application, it seems that another FISA Court judge disagreed; the threatened end of the program led to the enactment first of the Protect America Act and then the FISA Amendments Act, in 2007 and 2008, respectively; these allowed the surveillance in question.) There remained, however, one final set of claims not affected by the end of the non-FISA surveillance program: the plaintiffs asked the Court to order the government to destroy any records of surveillance of the plaintiffs. The government argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing because they lacked evidence that they had actually been surveilled.

In late 2006, the Multi District Litigation (MDL) Panel transferred the case to the Northern District of California to be consolidated with the Multi District Litigation. On February 23, 2007, the Panel consolidated the case with the MDL, In Re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation, NS-CA-11, in this Clearinghouse. For information about what happened while the case was a part of the consolidation see NS-CA-0004.

Ultimately, on January 31, 2011, the District Court (Judge Vaughn R. Walker) granted summary judgment in favor of the government. The Court held that the plaintiffs had failed to establish standing for any of their claims. The plaintiffs appealed.

On June 12, 2013, Judge McKeown wrote for the Ninth Circuit and affirmed the district court's dismissal. In re Nat'l Sec. Agency Telecommunications Records Litig., 522 F. App'x 383 (9th Cir. 2013). The Court of Appeals relied on the Supreme Court's decision in Clapper v. Amnesty International, (133 S. Ct. 1138 (2013)), NS-NY-0006, in this Clearinghouse. On November 1, 2013, The Ninth Circuit denied rehearing, and on March 19, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari review. The case is therefore done.

Michael Mirdamadi - 10/20/2013
Jessica Kincaid - 07/07/2014

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Unreasonable search and seizure
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. ยงยง 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Central Intelligence Agency
Defense Intelligence Agency
Department of Homeland Security
Federal Bureau of Investigation
National Security Agency
Plaintiff Description A non-profit legal advocacy organization and five of its attorneys that represented clients who are suspected of having some link to terrorist organizations.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Center for Constitutional Rights
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2006
Case Closing Year 2013
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing NS-CA-0011 : In re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0004 : Hepting v. AT&T (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0002 : Jewel v. National Security Agency (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0006 : Shubert v. Obama (N.D. Cal.)
3:07−cv−01115 (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0005-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/18/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1-1]
NS-CA-0005-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/16/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order (Granting Defedants' Motion for Summary Judgment and Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment) [ECF# 51] (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0005-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment [ECF# 52] (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0005-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/15/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Walker, Vaughn R. (N.D. Cal.)
NS-CA-0005-0002 | NS-CA-0005-0003 | NS-CA-0005-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Avery, Michael (Massachusetts)
NS-CA-0005-0001 | NS-CA-0005-9000
Cole, David (District of Columbia)
NS-CA-0005-0001 | NS-CA-0005-9000
Goodman, Bill (New York)
NS-CA-0005-0001 | NS-CA-0005-9000
Hafetz, Jonathon L. (New York)
Kadidal, Shayana (New York)
NS-CA-0005-0001 | NS-CA-0005-9000
Ratner, Michael (New York)
NS-CA-0005-0001 | NS-CA-0005-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berman, Marcia (District of Columbia)
Coppolino, Anthony J. (District of Columbia)
Haas, Alexander K (District of Columbia)
Other Lawyers Barbur, Peter T. (New York)
Daignault, Ronald Marc (New York)
Klear, Jennifer Alison (New York)
Scanlon, Vera M. (New York)
Valliere, Timothy Alfred (New York)

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