The case against the NSA and their bulk collection of phone and metadata began yesterday in New York City.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit in June, 2013, days after Edward Snowden leaked documents stating the NSA was collecting bulk phone metadata, and which the ACLU says violates the privacy rights and federal laws.
The case is being heard by a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the initial proceedings saw the judge’s panel ask both the ACLU and Justice Department lawyers various questions concerning the metadata collection. According to RT, no decision has yet been made on the matter after over two hours of questioning.
Assistant attorney general Stuart Delery was the defense representative in the case. He had the difficult position of defending a program that President Obama no longer publicly supports, according to the Guardian.
Judge Gerard Lynch asked Delery what the importance of collecting all domestic phone records was, as well as why they thought they could collect such data without suspecting the caller of “terrorism, espionage, or other wrongdoing.”
Delery argued, according to FOX News, the federal courts do not have proper jurisdiction to question or review complaints against the NSA program, while he also said the program was constitutional.
While Delery also said, “The purpose of this work is to detect and disrupt future plots,” Judge Lynch countered by saying he found it hard to imagine this meant the NSA could collect the metadata without discretion.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has said callers have no privacy interest in their phone metadata. They also wrote in April saying, “The telephony-metadata program serves the paramount government interest in preventing and disrupting terrorist attacks on the United States, and does so with minimal impact on legitimate privacy concerns.”