While the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the long-running case brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the three-judge panel unanimously refused to rule on the merits of the case, or whether it was true the United States breached the public’s Fourth Amendment rights by undertaking an ongoing dragnet surveillance program the EFF said commenced under the Bush administration following 9/11.
The San Francisco-based appeals court reversed a San Francisco federal judge who tossed the case against the government nearly three years ago. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, now retired, said the lawsuit amounted to a “general grievance” from the public, and not an actionable claim.
Walker also presided over the only case that found the Bush administration illegally spied on American citizens when it unleashed the NSA on Americans’ conversations, ruling that the government violated the rights of two American lawyers for al-Haramain, a now defunct Islamic charity. The government is appealing that ruling.