Only a neo-liberal would write and vote for a law that allows due process in the US to be circumvented and indefinite detention without charge. Below you see it was the neo-liberal caucus in Maryland that voted against a bill that would have prevented this in Maryland. You see as well that states all across the country are voting this protection into law.
Also, note that there are quite a few black legislators voting to keep this law in place. We already see citizens in Baltimore being arrested and held without charge that are not guilty no doubt thinking this law is broad enough to do this. Most of those people are justice activists!
Also, note that a Republican-led House voted to keep this provision in place yet it was the Republicans in Maryland pushing for protection. We need to be clear of the good cop/bad cop routine that has an issue supported by both neo-liberals and neo-cons trading votes to protect against being labelled by voters. The Republicans are being made the protector of the Constitution when in fact these states ignore all laws that are regulatory or civil rights!
The fact is, look to your state and local governments to see how votes will go. If the state and local push an issue, then the Federal pols do too!
It is the Federal pols that set the policy issues for the state most times!
Below you see how people's liberties are being ignored in Maryland and that is not the sign of a democratic platform!
'On Nov. 18, the National Labor Relations Board found that stores in 13 states, including Maryland, had "unlawfully threatened, disciplined, and/or terminated employees" for taking part in protests'.
You see a recurring theme of public justice being suspended over the rights of corporations and this extends to these Federal laws on indefinite detention. Is the problem with wording in the bill? IF THE WORDING WAS NOT AS DEMOCRATS LIKED THEN REWRITE IT ------GET ANOTHER BILL THROUGH THE MARYLAND ASSEMBLY NOW!!!
Maryland HB 558 will protect Marylanders from “indefinite detention”
– unfavorable report HB 558, the Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 2013, sponsored by Delegate Dwyer and co-sponsored by Delegates Fisher, Glass, Impallaria, Kipke, McComas, McConkey, McDermott, McDonough, Smigiel, and Stocksdale,
seeks to nullify certain sections of the 2012 federal National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This is a good bill. In part, the Liberty Preservation Act reads:
A PERSON OR GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY MAY NOT KNOWINGLY AID AN AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE DETENTION OF A PERSON IN ACCORDANCE WITH §§ 1021 AND 1022 OF THE FEDERAL NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012.
EXPLANATION:CAPITALS INDICATE MATTER ADDED TO EXISTING LAW.
[Brackets]indicate matter deleted from existing law.*hb0558*HOUSE BILL 558E4, P4, L63lr0985
By: Delegates Dwyer, Fisher, Glass, Impallaria, Kipke, McComas, McConkey, McDermott, McDonough, Smigiel, and StocksdaleIntroduced and read first time: January 30, 2013
Assigned to: Health and Government Operations
A BILL ENTITLEDAN ACT concerning1Maryland Liberty Preservation Act of 20132
FOR the purpose of prohibiting an agency of the State, a county of the State, an 3employee of the State or a county acting in an official capacity, or a member of 4the Maryland National Guard or the Maryland Defense Force, on official State 5duty, to knowingly aid an agency of the United States in the detention of a 6personin accordance with a certain federal statute; providing for the application 7of this Act; and generally relating to the detention of individuals.8BY adding to9Article –Public Safety10Section 13–51111Annotated Code of Maryland12(2011Replacement Volume and 2012 Supplement)13SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF 14MARYLAND, That the Laws of Maryland read as follows:15Article –Public Safety1613–511.17(A)THIS SECTION APPLIES TO THE FOLLOWING PERSONS AND 18GOVERNMENTAL ENTITIES:19(1)AN AGENCY OF THE STATE;20(2)A COUNTY IN THE STATE
2HOUSE BILL 558(3)AN EMPLOYEE OF THE STATE OR A COUNTY ACTING IN THE1EMPLOYEE’S OFFICIAL CAPACITY;AND2(4)A MEMBER OF THE MARYLAND NATIONAL GUARD OR THE 3MARYLAND DEFENSE FORCE ACTING ON OFFICIAL STATE DUTY.4(B)APERSON OR GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY MAY NOT KNOWINGLY AID 5AN AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE DETENTION OF A PERSONIN 6ACCORDANCE WITH§§1021AND 1022OF THE FEDERAL NATIONAL DEFENSE 7AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2012.8(C)THIS SECTIONDOESNOT APPLY TO PARTICIPATION BY STATE OR 9LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT,THEMARYLAND NATIONAL GUARD,OR THE 10MARYLANDDEFENSE FORCE INA JOINT TASK FORCE,PARTNERSHIP,OR 11OTHER SIMILAR COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTWITH FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT 12IFTHE AGREEMENT ISNOTFOR THE PURPOSE OF PARTICIPATING IN A 13DETENTION DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (B)OF THIS SECTION.14SECTION 2. AND BE IT FURTHER ENACTED, That this Act shall take effect 15October 1, 2013
These democrats voted against this bill.
If Maryland's neo-liberals in the State Assembly vote overwhelmingly against protections from indefinite detention FOR MARYLAND CITIZENS do we really think that is not how the Capitol Hill votes would go? Did the House really make them do it?
DAN K. MORHAIM
Democrat, District 11, Baltimore County
JOHN P. DONOGHUE
Democrat, District 2C, Washington County
NATHANIEL T. OAKS
Democrat, District 41, Baltimore City
JOSELINE A. PENA-MELNYK
Democrat, District 21, Anne Arundel & Prince George's Counties
Democrat, District 39, Montgomery County
SHAWN Z. TARRANT
Democrat, District 40, Baltimore City
ERIC M. BROMWELL
Democrat, District 8, Baltimore County
BONNIE L. CULLISON
Democrat, District 19, Montgomery County
PETER F. MURPHY
Democrat, District 28, Charles County
SHANE E. PENDERGRASS
Democrat, District 13, Howard County
Democrat, District 10, Baltimore County
ARIANA B. KELLY
Democrat, District 16, Montgomery County
JAMES W. HUBBARD
Democrat, District 23A, Prince George's County
VERONICA L. TURNER
Democrat, District 26, Prince George's County
states all across the country pass law to protect their citizens against this neo-liberal law of indefinite detention. Why do you think one democratic state would protect its citizens and another would not? Maryland has a high degree of capture within the justice groups that should be fighting against it. As is shown above, the black and Hispanic communities are the ones that will feel this the most and yet, in Maryland, that is who votes to prevent protection against indefinite detention. To be honest, it will be white, middle-class people like me who protest and speak loudly to power that will be the ones that 'disappear'. This all sounds strange in a former Rule of Law state, but let Americans come out in numbers against the growing injustice and corruption-----and these are the tactics that will surface! Just the threat of government using this law is meant to ferment fear of civil disobedience!
BREAKING: CALIFORNIA NULLIFIES NDAA INDEFINITE DETENTION
2 months ago | Politics, US | Posted by Michael Lotfi
- October 2, 2013
Assembly Bill (AB) 351 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown yesterday. California is the third state to have passed legislation, which nullifies the unpopular federal provision. A selection of AB 351 reads:
The United States Constitution and the California Constitution provide for various civil liberties and other individual rights for a citizen of the United States and the State of California, including the right of habeas corpus, the right to due process, the right to a speedy and public trial, and the right to be informed of criminal charges brought against him or her.
Certain provisions of federal law affirm the authority of the President of the United States to use all necessary and appropriate force to detain specified persons who engaged in terrorist activities. This bill would prohibit an agency in the State of California, a political subdivision of this state, an employee of an agency or a political subdivision of this state, as specified, or a member of the California National Guard, on official state duty, from knowingly aiding an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in any investigation, prosecution, or detention of a person within California pursuant to (1) Sections 1021 and 1022 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA), (2) the federal law known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force, enacted in 2001, or (3) any other federal law, except as specified, if the state agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the California National Guard would violate the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, or any law of this state by providing that aid. The bill would also prohibit local entities from knowingly using state funds and funds allocated by the state to those local entities on and after January 1, 2013, to engage in any activity that aids an agency of the Armed Forces of the United States in the detention of any person within California for purposes of implementing Sections 1021 and 1022 of the NDAA or the federal law known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force , if that activity would violate the United States Constitution, the California Constitution, or any law of this state, as specified. The bill’s common name is “The California Liberty Preservation Act.” California’s legislation takes things a step further than other states, which have implemented nullification legislation with regard to the NDAA.
The bill specifically states:
It is the policy of this state to refuse to provide material support for or to participate in any way with the implementation within this state of any federal law that purports to authorize indefinite detention of a person within California. (emphasis added)
This meaning the legislation takes aim at not only the NDAA provision, but any federal law, which seeks to disregard one’s constitutional rights.
Democrats and republicans worked together to sponsor and pass the legislation. The bill was introduced by ultra-conservative Tim Donnelly, and managed by San Francisco liberal-democrat Mark Leno.
Nullification has broken barriers in the political world not seen since Reagan won every state in the country in 1984 except Minnesota, home of challenger Mondale (D).
Nullification is able to do this because the federal government has put its hands in far too many pies. Liberals passionate about marijuana legalization and privacy rights find refuge in nullification. Meanwhile, conservatives passionate about the federal reserve, taxes and guns find refuge as well.
The Tenth Amendment Center stands in as the moderator working to nullify all unconstitutional laws in every state. They have provided model legislation to nullify indefinite detention in each state.
Tenth Amendment Center’s national communications director Mike Mike Maharrey tells us-
“Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together and passed legislation to protect against federal kidnapping,” adding that, “by saying, ‘No!’ to indefinite detention and refusing any state cooperation, the California legislature and Gov. Brown just ensured it will be very hard to whisk somebody away in the dead of night and hold them without due process.”
So, we are left to wait until a US citizen is actually indefinitely detained to see how the courts and Federal government will respond to this indefinite detention clause.
RUN AND VOTE FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE IN ALL PRIMARIES TO GET RID OF NEO-LIBERALS WANTING TO LEAVE THIS LANGUAGE DELIBERATELY VAGUE!!!!
Will SCOTUS Address Indefinite Detention Under NDAA of 2012?
By William Peacock, Esq. on September 6, 2013 11:55 AM
How many lawsuits have been brought as a result of a vague, poorly-drafted statue? Here is another one.
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 contained a provision that authorized the military to imprison anyone suspected of providing "substantial" assistance or support to terrorist groups "until the end of hostilities."
What is "substantial"? And when, oh when is it the "end of hostilities"?
The plaintiffs, including journalist Chris Hedges, claim that the vague language of the statue could be applied to journalists, who are often seen as more of a burden than a benefit to the military, especially when they uncover misconduct by American troops, reports RT.
Hedges stated, "I have had dinner more times than I can count with people whom this country brands as terrorists ... but that does not make me one." He has also alleged that he had been detained numerous times during his decades as a foreign correspondent.
The district court granted a preliminary injunction, then, after hearing the case, permanently enjoined enforcement of the Act, finding that it didn't "pass constitutional muster," as it could have a chilling effect on free speech and violate due process.
In her lengthy 110-page opinion, Judge Forrest emphasized that:
"The Government did not -- and does not -- generally agree or anywhere argue that activities protected by the First Amendment could not subject an individual to indefinite military detention under § 1021(b)(2). The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides for greater protection: it prohibits Congress from passing any law abridging speech and associational rights. To the extent that § 1021(b)(2) purports to encompass protected First Amendment activities, it is unconstitutionally overbroad."
The Do-Nothing Law
The Second Circuit, on the other hand, felt that the law was far less egregious, and in fact, has no effect whatsoever on U.S. Citizens. The relevant provision of the statute states:
"Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States."
Senator Carl Levin, a sponsor of the bill, stated:
"[I]t would provide the assurance that we are not adversely affecting the rights of the U.S. citizens in this language․ It makes clear what we have been saying this language already does, which is that it does not affect existing law relative to the right of the executive branch to capture and detain a citizen. If that law is there allowing it, it remains. If, as some argue, the law does not allow that, then it continues that way."
In other words, both those in favor of the bill, and those opposed to it, clearly meant for that provision to ensure that the status quo remained for U.S. citizens, a status quo that, at the time, remained up for debate.
Because the law arguably changed nothing for U.S. citizens, the Second Circuit held that the U.S. citizen plaintiffs had nothing to worry about, and by extension, no standing. Foreign plaintiffs, such as a member of the Icelandic parliament, had demonstrated no fear of being arrested.
At least until the law is used, or misused, it can't be challenged under the Second Circuit's interpretation.
Of course, no one likes to live with the fear of unlawful arrest lingering over their lives. The plaintiffs are seeking certiorari from the Supreme Court, arguing that if they wait until they are unlawfully detained, it will be too late. There is no right to counsel under the NDAA, and the only remedy is habeas corpus, an extraordinary writ of last resort.
- Hedges v. Obama - Second Circuit Opinion (FindLaw's CaseLaw)
- The Last Chance to Stop the NDAA (TruthOut)
- 5 Things to Know About NDAA Indefinite Detention (FindLaw's Second Circuit Blog)
Here is a Federal Court saying OK to indefinite detention. Isn't it odd that a California Court would approve detention while the state legislators pass a law to protect against it? Los Angeles is the home of undocumented immigrants that would suffer most with this. Appointed by the California governor.
Newly appointed Justices must be retained by the public at the next general election and at the end of each 12 year term. Please do not think this is only about US citizens that become al-Qaeda terrorists. We have undocumented immigrants being held indefinitely in deportation jails for example and whistleblowers that are being deemed 'enemies of the state'.
About The 2nd District
On November 8, 1904, Article 6 section 4 of the California Constitution was adopted creating 3 District Courts of Appeal: the First District located in San Francisco, the Second District located in Los Angeles, and the Third District located in Sacramento. The Constitution was modified in 1966 and there are now six Courts of Appeal: The Fourth District with Divisions in San Diego, Riverside and Santa Ana, the Fifth District in Fresno and the Sixth District in San Jose.
Friday, 19 July 2013 09:00
NDAA Indefinite Detention Without Trial Approved by Appeals Court
by Thomas R. Eddlem The New American
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District struck down an injunction against indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the president under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 in a July 17 ruling that is a blow to civil liberties protected by the U.S. Constitution. The appellate court ruled:
Plaintiffs lack standing to seek preenforcement review of Section 1021 and vacate the permanent injunction. The American citizen plaintiffs lack standing because Section 1021 says nothing at all about the President’s authority to detain American citizens.
The Section 1021 of the NDAA allows “detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities” for “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.” The court is technically correct in stating that the law does not specifically mention U.S. citizens when it uses the term “person,” but like the vaguely worded “supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces,” it appears to be all-encompassing and subject solely to the president's discretionary whims.
The threat that the U.S. government would detain indefinitely — or even kill — an American citizen without formal charges or judicial proceeding is hardly theoretical. The appellate court that struck down the injunction acknowledged that fact:
Presidents Bush and Obama have asserted the right to place certain individuals in military detention, without trial, in furtherance of their authorized use of force. That is, whom did Congress authorize the President to detain when it passed the AUMF [Authorization for the Use of Military Force]? On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. Section 1021 of that statute, which fits on a single page, is Congress’ first — and, to date, only — foray into providing further clarity on that question. Of particular importance for our purposes, Section 1021(b)(2) appears to permit the President to detain anyone who was part of, or has substantially supported, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces.
Both President Obama and George W. Bush have authorized the detention or killing of American citizens without any due process.
U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki had been deemed a terrorist by the Obama administration for essentially maintaining a YouTube site that called for attacks against Americans from Awlaki's Yemeni home. Awlaki — an American citizen — was later killed in a September 30, 2011 drone strike authorized by President Obama but without any judicial proceeding. No evidence of his actual involvement in any terrorist incident was ever made public, and no charges were ever brought in any court against Awlaki. Two weeks later Awlaki's Colorado-born 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, was killed in a separate drone strike authorized by the president. And President Obama is widely known to have a “kill list” that includes American citizens.
President Bush detained at least four American citizens without trial: U.S. Navy Veteran Donald Vance, Nathan Ertel, Yaser Hamdi, and Jose Padilla. Although Vance and Ertel were released after a few months of torture (they were innocent), the Bush administration fought giving Hamdi and Padilla a trial — and even a habeas corpus hearing — all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The suit against the NDAA was brought largely by plaintiffs who are journalists and political activists, each claiming that their First Amendment-protected rights to freedom of speech, press, and assembly had been “chilled” because of the threat of indefinite detention. One of the journalists, Nobel Prize-winner Christopher Hedges, had interviewed al-Qaeda members as part of a story on the terrorist organization, and sought an injunction against his detention for what a president could claim was “aid” of enemy forces under the NDAA. Hedges' fear is not unfounded; three former Guantanamo detainees (the British citizens released because they were innocent) were deemed by the U.S. government in 2007 as having “returned to the battlefield” for the crime of granting an interview for the documentary film The Road to Guantanamo.
The injunction against the NDAA that was overridden, issued by Judge Katherine B. Forrest last year, against detentions without the ordinary court process said: “The Government did not — and does not — generally agree or anywhere argue that activities protected by the First Amendment could not subject an individual to indefinite military detention under § 1021(b)(2). The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides for greater protection: It prohibits Congress from passing any law abridging speech and associational rights.... First Amendment rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be legislated away.”
Though the injunction against indefinite detention was struck down largely on jurisdictional grounds, the appellate court essentially dismissed the district court ruling that “plaintiffs did present evidence that First Amendment rights have already been harmed and will be harmed by the prospect of § 1021(b)(2) being enforced. The public has a strong and undoubted interest in the clear preservation of First and Fifth Amendment rights.”
Below you see an article on one citizen in Maryland who has experienced this suspension of due process and was left in jail until he agreed to plead guilty of charges he intended to fight. This means he could have been held even longer had he not agreed. Those that know this case know that the entire incident was rife with retaliation against an activist who spoke truth to power.
You see he was denied bail in what was a routine criminal case. This is what comes from a law that looks at indefinite detention without charge as a norm.
THIS IS SERIOUS FOLKS!!!!
Baltimore Spectator blogger pleads not guilty; awaits May trialFrank James MacArthur will request another bail hearing, lawyer says
Frank James MacArthur, 47, faces weapons charges after police… (Baltimore City Police,…)May 08, 2013|By Justin George, The Baltimore Sun
Frank James MacArthur, the blogger known as the Baltimore Spectator, could go on trial in May after pleading not guilty Monday to gun and resisting-arrest charges that have kept him in jail for months.
MacArthur is accused in connection with a December standoff as Baltimore police tried to arrest him on a probation violation charge. During the standoff, MacArthur protested his arrest on an online radio station and live-streamed his telephone discussions with a police negotiator over the Internet.
There is every evidence that this NSA spying is unconstitutional and as such------Snowden is a whistleblower. Yet, if he were apprehended by US authorities, he would be held under indefinite detention as an enemy of the nation. We need Snowden cleared of all charges and given his passport and an invitation to a heroes welcome!
We live at a time when the government is the law-breaker and they are trying to make you and I conform to silence in fighting for Rule of Law and justice!
Judge: NSA domestic phone data-mining unconstitutional
By Bill Mears and Evan Perez, CNN updated 8:52 PM EST, Mon December 16, 2013
Analyst: NSA ruling only affects two STORY HIGHLIGHTS
- Snowden says he knew the surveillance would not withstand legal review
- The limited ruling opens the door to possible further legal challenges
- The NSA data-mining can continue, pending a likely appeal
- Classified leaks by Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the data-mining
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said the National Security Agency's bulk collection of metadata -- phone records of the time and numbers called without any disclosure of content -- apparently violates privacy rights.
His preliminary ruling favored five plaintiffs challenging the practice, but Leon limited the decision only to their cases.
NSA phone surveillance unconstitutional? "I cannot imagine a more 'indiscriminate' and 'arbitrary invasion' than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval," said Leon, an appointee of President George W. Bush. "Surely, such a program infringes on 'that degree of privacy' that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment."
Leon's ruling said the "plaintiffs in this case have also shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits of a Fourth Amendment claim," adding "as such, they too have adequately demonstrated irreparable injury."
He rejected the government's argument that a 1979 Maryland case provided precedent for the constitutionality of collecting phone metadata, noting that public use of telephones had increased dramatically in the past three decades.
Leon also noted that the government "does not cite a single instance in which analysis of the NSA's bulk metadata collection actually stopped an imminent attack, or otherwise aided the government in achieving any objective that was time-sensitive in nature."
However, he put off enforcing his order barring the government from collecting the information, pending an appeal by the government.
A Justice Department spokesman said Monday that "we believe the program is constitutional as previous judges have found," but said the ruling is being studied.
Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, a critic of the NSA data mining, said Leon's ruling showed that "the bulk collection of Americans' phone records conflicts with Americans' privacy rights under the U.S. Constitution and has failed to make us safer."
He called on Congress to pass legislation he proposed to "ensure the NSA focuses on terrorists and spies - and not innocent Americans."
Explosive revelations earlier this year by Snowden, a former NSA contractor, triggered new debate about national security and privacy interests in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attacks.
Snowden's revelations led to more public disclosure about the secretive legal process that sets in motion the government surveillance.
In a statement distributed by journalist Glenn Greenwald, who first reported the leaks, Snowden said he acted on the belief that the mass surveillance program would not withstand a constitutional challenge, and that Americans deserved a judicial review.
"Today, a secret program authorized by a secret court was, when exposed to the light of day, found to violate Americans' rights. It is the first of many," according to Snowden, who is living in Russia under a grant of asylum to avoid prosecution over the leaks in the United States.
Greenwald said the judge's ruling vindicates what Snowden did.
"I think it's not only the right, but the duty of an American citizen in Edward Snowden's situation to come forward, at great risk to himself, and inform his fellow citizens about what it is their government is doing in the dark that is illegal," the journalist told CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360" Monday night.
The NSA has admitted it received secret court approval to collect vast amounts of metadata from telecom giant Verizon and leading Internet companies, including Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo and Facebook.
The case before Leon involved approval for surveillance in April by a judge at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a secret body that handles individual requests for electronic surveillance for "foreign intelligence purposes."
Verizon Business Network Services turned over the metadata to the government.
Leon's ruling comes as the Obama administration completes a review of NSA surveillance in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks.
CNN's Jake Tapper reported Monday that tech company executives would meet with President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday to discuss the issue.
Obama plans to sit down with Tim Cook of Apple and Eric Schmidt of Google, as well as executives from Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, Salesforce, Netflix , Etsy, Dropbox, Yahoo!, Zynga, Sherpa Global, Comcast, LinkedIn and AT&T, a White House official said.
Some of those companies issued a joint letter last week calling on the government to change its surveillance policies in the wake of the Snowden revelations.
Last month, the Supreme Court refused to take up the issue when it denied a separate petition, which was filed by the Electronic Information Privacy Center. Prior lawsuits against the broader NSA program also have been unsuccessful.
Days after the Snowden disclosure in June, some Verizon customers filed legal challenges in the D.C. federal court.
The left-leaning American Civil LIberties Union also filed a separate, pending suit in New York federal court.
Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of the 1970s, the secret courts were set up to grant certain types of government requests-- wiretapping, data analysis, and other monitoring of possible terrorists and spies operating in the United States.
The Patriot Act that Congress passed after the 9/11 attacks broadened the government's ability to conduct anti-terrorism surveillance in the United States and abroad, eventually including the metadata collection.
In order to collect the information, the government has to demonstrate that it's "relevant" to an international terrorism investigation.
However, the 1978 FISA law lays out exactly what the special court must decide: "A judge considering a petition to modify or set aside a nondisclosure order may grant such petition only if the judge finds that there is no reason to believe that disclosure may endanger the national security of the United States, interfere with a criminal, counterterrorism, or counterintelligence investigation, interfere with diplomatic relations, or endanger the life or physical safety of any person."
In defending the program, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that "15 separate judges of the FISA Court have held on 35 occasions that Section 215 (of the Patriot Act) authorizes the collection of telephony metadata in bulk in support of counterterrorism investigations."
Initially, telecommunications companies such as Verizon, were the targets of legal action against Patriot Act provisions. Congress later gave retroactive immunity to those private businesses.
The revelations of the NSA program and the inner workings of the FISC court came after Snowden leaked documents to the Guardian newspaper. Snowden fled to Hong Kong and then Russia to escape U.S. prosecution.
The case is Klayman v. Obama (13-cv-881).