9th Circuit to Hear Oral Arguments in Hepting v. AT&T and Jewel v. NSA
Seattle – On Wednesday, August 31 at 2 p.m., the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle will hear oral argument
from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in Hepting v.AT&T and Jewel v. NSA — EFF’s two cases challenging the
government’s illegal mass surveillance of millions ofordinary Americans’ private communications.
At stake in Wednesday’s hearing is whether the courts can judge the legality and constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) bulk interception of Americans’ phone calls and emails, accomplished through back-door access to AT&T’s domestic telecom network and its databases of communications records. The government has argued that the NSA program should be immune from judicial scrutiny because litigation over the spying — which has been the subject of widespread and detailed reporting and debate for over half a decade — would cause the disclosure of “state secrets” and harm national security.
More than five years ago, EFF filed Hepting v AT&T, the first lawsuit against a telecom aimed at stopping the government’s dragnet domestic wiretapping. In 2008, when Congress passed legislation that threatened to end the Hepting case, EFF filed Jewel v. NSA — a case directly against the government and government officials. On Wednesday, EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn in the Hepting case and Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston in the Jewel case will urge the appeals court to allow the lawsuits to proceed so that the courts can finally apply the rule of law to the NSA’s dragnet surveillance program.
Hepting v. AT&T
Jewel v. NSA
Wednesday, August 31
William K. Nakamura Courthouse
1010 Fifth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
7th Floor, Court #2
For more background on the hearing: