Matt Glenn of JURIST reports:
The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] Thursday that a lawsuit seeking to declare parts of the Patriot Act unconstitutional must be dismissed for lack of standing. Brandon Mayfield, an attorney arrested in 2004 based on FBI error in connection with the 2004 Madrid train bombings, had argued that parts of the Patriot Act amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) violated the Fourth Amendment. Specifically, Mayfield alleged that FISA provisions allowing the government use electronic surveillance [50 USC § 1804] and physically search [50 USC § 1823] his home without probable cause violated his Fourth Amendment rights. In reversing a lower court decision [opinion, PDF], the court refused to rule on the merits of the case, finding that Mayfield could not pursue his claim because a settlement [PDF] between Mayfield and the Government expressly limited Mayfield’s possible relief to a declaratory judgment that the provisions violated the Fourth Amendment. The court held:
[I]n light of the limited remedy available to Mayfield, he does not have standing to pursue his Fourth Amendment claim because his injuries already have been substantially redressed by the settlement agreement, and a declaratory judgment would not likely impact him or his family.
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