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Clapper v. Amnesty International USA

United States Supreme Court
133 S.Ct. 1138 (2013)


Facts

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) authorized the United States government to conduct surveillance on non-U.S. citizens that were outside the U.S. Amnesty International USA, et al. (plaintiffs) are lawyers, journalists, and human rights researchers, among other things, who do work that often has them communicating with individuals abroad that the plaintiffs claimed are likely to be subject to surveillance under FISA. The plaintiffs brought suit seeking a declaratory ruling that this portion of FISA was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs claimed that there was an “objectively reasonable likelihood” that the plaintiffs’ communications would be recorded under FISA. Alternatively, the plaintiffs claimed that given the risk of surveillance, they had to spend significant funds to ensure that their communications were kept confidential. The court of appeals ruled that the plaintiffs had standing to bring the suit. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Dissent (Breyer, J.)

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