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One Roadblock Removed in Lawsuit Against NSA

Joshua Kopstein, The Verge :

…a federal judge ruled Monday that the Obama administration can not use its “state secrets” privilege to block a lawsuit originally brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in 2008.

That’s big news: until now, the administration has repeatedly invoked the privilege to block almost every legal challenge the NSA has faced over its surveillance activities, even after a secret court ruled that the programs had violated the Constitution “on at least one occasion.” But the ultimate goal — an official Constitutional ruling that would ostensibly bring an end to NSA’s warrantless data collection programs — is still a ways off, if it happens at all.

Let’s go ahead and assume that this whole case will be swallowed by a giant U.S.A.-shaped black hole eventually—as Kopstein notes, the government can always shut the case down with an invocation of “sovereign immunity.” For now, though, it’s nice to think that some judge might actually have to try to square PRISM with the Fourth Amendment.

By the way, here’s the full court document, for those interested.