NEW YORK - March 9 - Today attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) will file a significant motion for summary judgment in the challenge to the legality of the NSA Domestic Spying Program (CCR v. Bush), asserting that the Bush Administration has already admitted enough incriminating facts to prove the NSA Program is illegal.
CCR is requesting an injunction to bar the government from continuing its illegal spying on Americans and to disclose whether the government eavesdropped on confidential attorney client communications. The motion is particularly significant because it is unusual for defendants to have admitted enough illegal behavior at an early stage in a case to justify summary judgment.
Shayana Kadidal, a CCR staff attorney on the case, explained why this motion is such a significant and aggressive step in the case:
“We can file this aggressive motion because we have proof that the spying program is illegal. The bottom line is the defendants have incriminated themselves – President Bush admitted that he authorized and oversaw an illegal and unconstitutional program. As we told the court, the only facts necessary to resolve the dispute have been admitted by the defendants.”
The motion comes amidst reports that Republican Senators made a backroom deal with the White House to try to pass legislation allowing more warrantless domestic spying. CCR Legal Director Bill Goodman emphasized that no backroom G.O.P. deals could change the program’s illegality:
“Spying on Americans without warrants violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution and federal law. We are confident in today’s filing because the Bush Administration has already admitted to violating these laws. Now the courts have the opportunity to stop this illegal program and defend Americans’ constitutional rights – before some apologists in Congress try more ploys to conceal President Bush’s illegal spying.”
Today’s brief also provides the most detailed rebuttal to date of the Department of Justice’s January 19 memo defending domestic wiretapping. The brief provides a comprehensive “statement of undisputed facts” about the spy program, the plaintiff’s injuries from compromised confidential client communications, and a detailed “arguments” section that debunks the Administration’s defenses point by point. The entire filing will be available at www.ccr-ny.org
In addition to CCR’s case, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a challenge to the warrantless NSA spying program on behalf of a group of prominent journalists, nonprofit groups, terrorism experts and community advocates; it was filed on January 17, 2006 in federal district court in Detroit.
CCR has a long and effective record of protecting constitutional rights endangered by illegal Presidential actions such as warrantless wiretapping. CCR helped terminate illegal wiretapping by the Nixon Administration and brought the landmark 1972 Supreme Court decision establishing the illegality of warrantless domestic surveillance (United States v. United States District Court).