Appeals court throws out eavesdropping lawsuit
Why do they lack standing? Because they can't prove they had been subjected to surveillance under the program.
As I've noted before, this sort of logic drives me nuts. Standing is an important legal concept, which helps ensure that someone bringing suit has a relevant interest in the case. It's a key defense against frivolous lawsuits, and keeps people, organizations and the government from intruding where they don't belong.
But in a case involving secret eavesdropping, in which the government (reasonably enough) refuses to say who or what it is monitoring, how can someone ever prove standing? By this logic, the government can have every case thrown out as long as it keeps the names of its subjects secret.
That's nonsensical. To quote my earlier rant:
It seems to me, though, that in important cases like this there should be available a broader form of standing, one that allows a court opinion to be rendered without requiring proof that the plaintiff has been specifically targeted. It would be a class-action suit of sorts, following the logic that "we're all affected by this program, either directly or indirectly, so we all have standing to question it.
That's pretty much the tack the ACLU was pursuing, so maybe they'll appeal to the Supreme Court and hope for the best. Seems like a bit of a long shot, though.
Meanwhile, a companion case out of Oregon is still alive.
Update: A detailed discussion of the case -- and the whole issue of standing -- over at Althouse.
terrorism, NSA, ACLU, politics, midtopia