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American Civil Liberties Union v. Clapper

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
785 F.3d 787 (2d Cir. 2015)


The National Security Agency (NSA) had a program that collected domestic telephone metadata in bulk and on a daily basis, including (1) the caller’s and recipient’s numbers; (2) the date, the time, the user or device making or receiving the call, and the duration of the call; (3) limited location information; and (4) calling-card numbers. The metadata did not include the content of the telephone call. The NSA received authority for the bulk-collection program from the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) pursuant to § 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), as amended by § 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act (Act). The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Civil Liberties Union (plaintiffs) filed suit in district court against National Intelligence Director James Clapper, NSA Director Michael Rogers, and other federal officials (defendants), challenging the legality of the NSA program. The plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction to halt the program, arguing that the collected data violated the authority conferred by § 215 as well as the First and Fourth Amendments. The district court dismissed the complaint. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Lynch, J.)

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