9TH CIRCUIT TO REVIEW NATIONAL SECURITY LETTERS: A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments today in a case reviewing the constitutionality of the FBI's use of national security letters. The court action follows a pre-Snowden ruling by a federal judge last year that the FBI's secret use of NSLs and its prolific use of gag orders violated the First Amendment. (Enforcement of that decision was stayed on appeal.)

Onlookers see the case, which stems from an unnamed telecom's 2011 challenge of an NSL it received, as one that could ultimately land before the Supreme Court and have seismic implications for how the government spies on Americans. Surveillance critics are also hopeful the traditionally left-leaning 9th Circuit will lend a sympathetic ear to the challenge. The action gets underway in San Francisco at noon EST, but Washington can listen via a live audio stream. (Volz, NJ)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
National Journal