Schuchardt v. President of the United States

839 F.3d 336 (2016)

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Schuchardt v. President of the United States

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
839 F.3d 336 (2016)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

The National Security Agency (NSA) operated a telephonic- and electronic-surveillance program authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The scope of the program was publicly unknown until a former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden, leaked classified documents to the media. The leaked documents revealed the government’s bulk collection of domestic telephone metadata from Verizon, a telephone company. Separately, the documents revealed an electronic-surveillance program known as PRISM. Under PRISM, the NSA reportedly collected emails and email-related information directly from the servers of large American companies like Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Apple, and Facebook. Emails belonging to most Americans, or those Americans who used the companies’ services, were allegedly being intercepted, accessed, monitored, and otherwise surveilled by the NSA. Elliott Schuchardt (plaintiff) sued the federal government and related parties (defendants) for violating the Fourth Amendment through the PRISM program. Schuchardt alleged that he had been surveilled because he used Google’s and Yahoo’s email services, Google’s and Dropbox’s cloud-storage services, and Facebook’s email and instant-messaging services. Based on media reports, Schuchardt alleged details relating to the PRISM program. A report from an independent oversight agency confirmed the existence of PRISM but indicated that the information requested and obtained by the NSA was selective. On the government’s motion, the district court dismissed the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction based on Schuchardt’s failure to sufficiently plead his Article III standing. Schuchardt appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hardiman, J.)

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