University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name In re Opinions and Orders of this Court Containing Novel or Significant Interpretations of Law NS-DC-0117
Docket / Court Misc. 16-01 ( 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 Act -- Internet Metadata
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- Telephony Metadata
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Case Summary
For the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse collection of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) matters, see our special collection.

On October 19, 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ... read more >
For the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse collection of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) matters, see our special collection.

On October 19, 2016, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic of Yale Law School filed this motion in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to unseal the court's orders and opinions containing "novel or significant interpretations of law" issued between September 11, 2001, and the passage of the USA FREEDOM Act on June 2, 2015. The ACLU argued that the First Amendment compelled release of these judicial decisions and that FISC Rule 62 gave the FISC discretion to publish its own orders, opinions, and decisions. Three years earlier (Docket Misc. 13-08), the ACLU had filed a similar motion, requesting the release of all opinions addressing the legal basis for bulk data collection under FISA (NS-DC-0026 in this Clearinghouse). The litigation under Misc. 13-08 was still ongoing at the time the ACLU filed this case, but the request in this case was broader, including opinions that were unrelated to bulk data collection.

While this motion was pending, FISC Judge Rosemary Collyer dismissed the motion in Misc. 13-08, concluding that the ACLU lacked standing. In March 2017, after a request from the ACLU to alter or amend Judge Collyer's earlier opinion, Judge Collyer called for an en banc reconsideration in Misc. 13-08 of whether the ACLU had standing. In light of the status of Misc. 13-08, on March 27, 2017, Judge Collyer issued an order in this case directing the parties to confer and discuss whether this case should be stayed.

The parties did not agree to stay the case. Instead, on March 29, 2017, the ACLU moved to delay briefing in light of the proceedings in Misc. 13-08. The court granted this request, delaying the briefing until June 2017. On June 8, 2017, the government filed its response to the motion, making the same argument it had made in Misc. 13-08—that the ACLU lacked standing because neither the First Amendment nor FISA Rule 62 gave the ACLU a right of access to FISC opinions. On June 30, 2017, the ACLU filed a response, arguing that well-established First Amendment law provided the ACLU with a right to judicial opinions in every Article III court, except for the FISC. The ACLU thus argued that lack of access to FISC opinions was "the one federal court in which the public is denied access to judicial interpretations of public laws, individual rights, and limitations on government power." The FISC has yet to rule on this motion.

On June 14, 2018, the ACLU filed a motion to consolidate this docket with Misc. 13-08, arguing that the legal issues between the two overlapped extensively, including questions of subject matter jurisdiction. The FISC has yet to rule on this motion as well.

This case remains pending in the FISC.

John He - 07/31/2017
Lisa Limb - 02/20/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Access to lawyers or judicial system
Confidentiality
Courts
Search policies
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Defendant(s) United States
Plaintiff Description The movant is the American Civil Liberties Union.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2016
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing NS-DC-0026 : In re Opinions & Orders of this Court Addressing Bulk Collection of Data under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA Docket Misc. 13-08] (FISC)
Docket(s)
Misc. 16-01 (FISC)
NS-DC-0117-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/30/2017
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
General Documents
Certification of Bar Membership and Security Clearance Status
NS-DC-0117-0009.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/19/2016
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Motion of the American Civil Liberties Union For the Release of Court Records
NS-DC-0117-0010.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 10/19/2016
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Motion for Briefing Schedule
NS-DC-0117-0008.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 12/19/2016
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Scheduling Order (FISC)
NS-DC-0117-0007.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 01/27/2017
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Amended Scheduling Order (FISC)
NS-DC-0117-0006.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/08/2017
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Order (2017 WL 1682645) (FISC)
NS-DC-0117-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/27/2017
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Movant's Letter In Response to Court's March 27, 2017 Order
NS-DC-0117-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/29/2017
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Order Granting in Part the Movants' Request to Modify the Scheduling Order (2017 WL 1500052) (FISC)
NS-DC-0117-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/30/2017
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
The United States' Opposition to the Motion of the American Civil Liberties Union For the Release of Court Records
NS-DC-0117-0002.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/08/2017
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
Movant's Reply In Support of Motion For the Release of Court Records
NS-DC-0117-0001.pdf | External Link | Detail
Date: 06/30/2017
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE DOCKET NOS. MISC. 13-08 & 16-01
NS-DC-0117-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/13/2018
Source: Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
show all people docs
Judges Collyer, Rosemary M. (FISC, D.D.C.) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0004 | NS-DC-0117-0005 | NS-DC-0117-0006 | NS-DC-0117-0007
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abdo, Alex (New York) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0001 | NS-DC-0117-0008 | NS-DC-0117-0009 | NS-DC-0117-0010 | NS-DC-0117-0011
Bloch-Wehba, Hannah (Connecticut) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0001 | NS-DC-0117-0008 | NS-DC-0117-0009 | NS-DC-0117-0010 | NS-DC-0117-0011
Jaffer, Jameel (New York) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0001 | NS-DC-0117-0008 | NS-DC-0117-0009 | NS-DC-0117-0011
Kaufman, Brett Max (New York) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0001 | NS-DC-0117-0009 | NS-DC-0117-0010 | NS-DC-0117-0011
Langford, John (Connecticut) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0001 | NS-DC-0117-0008 | NS-DC-0117-0009 | NS-DC-0117-0010 | NS-DC-0117-0011
Michelman, Scott (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0001 | NS-DC-0117-0008 | NS-DC-0117-0009 | NS-DC-0117-0010 | NS-DC-0117-0011
Schulz, David A. (Connecticut) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0001 | NS-DC-0117-0008 | NS-DC-0117-0009 | NS-DC-0117-0010 | NS-DC-0117-0011
Spitzer, Arthur (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0001 | NS-DC-0117-0008 | NS-DC-0117-0009 | NS-DC-0117-0010 | NS-DC-0117-0011
Toomey, Patrick Christopher (New York) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0001 | NS-DC-0117-0003 | NS-DC-0117-0008 | NS-DC-0117-0009 | NS-DC-0117-0010 | NS-DC-0117-0011
Defendant's Lawyers Boente, Dana J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0002
Evans, Stuart J. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0002
Smith, Jeffrey Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0117-0002

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