“Massive warrantless surveillance of law-abiding citizens has a profoundly negative impact on the constitutionally-protected right of association utilized by all those who seek to engage in public advocacy,” said the executive director of CAIR’s San Francisco Bay Area chapter.
“The American Muslim community has complained of such wholesale surveillance for more than a decade – with FBI visits, mosque surveillance, etc. CAIR welcomes the opportunity to challenge NSA spying alongside other organizations.
The plaintiffs in the case are all associations that utilize telephones in exercising the First Amendment right to bring people together to work to change policy or laws.
The plaintiffs are, according to CAIR.com:
- First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles
- Bill of Rights Defense Committee
- California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees
- Council on American-Islamic Relations National, California, and Ohio
- Franklin Armory
- Free Press
- Free Software Foundation
- Greenpeace, Inc.
- Human Rights Watch
- Media Alliance
- National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, California Chapter
- Open Technology Institute
- People for the American Way
- Public Knowledge
- Students for a Sensible Drug Policy
- The Calguns Foundation
- Unitarian Universalist Service Commission
With each new group filing lawsuits against the NSA, the spying program the U.S. government has been engaged in may finally be dismantled. Even if the political will to do so isn’t there, it will surely get harder and harder for the Obama administration to keep it up for much longer, as more heat is put on Washington from an angry populace.
What’s also encouraging is that many of these groups are frequently involved in politics and the law while fighting for the rights of their respective clients, and will no doubt have extremely knowledgeable and experienced lawyers in the courtroom on their (and our) side.