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Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Telco Immunity Case
EFF, ACLU Challenge Dies Four Years Later
by Karl Bode 03:45PM Tuesday Oct 09 2012
You'll recall that a few years ago it was leaked that the government and phone companies were working hand in hand on a warrantless domestic surveillance system that had little to no oversight, with AT&T employees revealing (pdf) all phone and data being dumped wholesale in the government's lap. When civil liberty groups became justifiably outraged that the phone companies and the government were breaking the law -- the government simply had the law changed, granting retroactive immunity to phone companies.

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A group of 33 cases against companies like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint were consolidated and last January made their way before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court ruled that the law giving the phone companies retroactive immunity was constitutional since it was done under claims of national security. In short, the ruling insisted that retroactively protecting companies against suits for breaking the law was ok -- because the government might need those companies' help breaking the law in the future.

Today the Supreme Court put the last challenge to telco immunity to bed, refusing to hear a case brought against carriers on behalf of their customers in 2008 by the ACLU and EFF. The government originally tried to have the case crushed by claiming a case could reveal state secrets. When a Judge destroyed that attempt, the government simply decided to have the law changed, granting immunity to carriers provided they had received letters from the President saying breaking the law was ok.

While this chapter of the fight for government and carrier accountability for breaking the law is dead, the Supreme Court is slated to hear another case next month that will determine whether it's illegal to sue NSA officials for sanctioning then-illegal wiretapping of United States civilians.

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Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Tulsa, OK

2 recommendations

reply to Noah Vail

Re: November is coming

Here's the full list:


Alexander (R-TN), Yea
Allard (R-CO), Yea
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Yea
Bayh (D-IN), Yea
Bennett (R-UT), Yea
Bond (R-MO), Yea
Brownback (R-KS), Yea
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Carper (D-DE), Yea
Casey (D-PA), Yea
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Coleman (R-MN), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Yea
Corker (R-TN), Yea
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Craig (R-ID), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dole (R-NC), Yea
Domenici (R-NM), Yea
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagel (R-NE), Yea
Hatch (R-UT), Yea
Hutchison (R-TX), Yea
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Yea
Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Yea
Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea
Lincoln (D-AR), Yea
Lugar (R-IN), Yea
Martinez (R-FL), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Yea
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Mikulski (D-MD), Yea
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Obama (D-IL), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Smith (R-OR), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stevens (R-AK), Yea
Sununu (R-NH), Yea
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Yea
Warner (R-VA), Yea
Webb (D-VA), Yea
Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea
Wicker (R-MS), Yea


Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Biden (D-DE), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Nay
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Clinton (D-NY), Nay
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

Not Voting:
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
McCain (R-AZ), Not Voting
Sessions (R-AL), Not Voting

So in Summary:

ALL the Republicans and many of the Democrats, FOR.

A solid block of Democrats & an Independent (The Liberal Block, looks like) AGAINST.
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


Downers Grove, IL

2 recommendations

reply to n2jtx

Re: Huawei

Huawei is doing it against the government. The government is doing it against it's citizens. So it's OK.


Glen Head, NY

2 recommendations

And Congress is complaining about Huawei! We do the same thing and then pass laws to make it legal.
I support the right to keep and arm bears.