Democracy Now: Appeals Court Upholds Telecom Immunity Law, OKs Spying Suit

A federal appeals court has upheld a 2008 law granting immunity to telecom companies that aided the Bush administration’s warrantless domestic spy program. Groups including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union had filed an appeal consolidating 33 different cases against the companies — including AT&T, Sprint Nextel, Verizon and BellSouth — after a lower court ruled that the firms are protected by Congress-mandated retroactive immunity. But on Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the telecom suits, ruling the retroactive immunity law is constitutional. The ruling could mark the end of legal attempts to hold the telecom firms accountable for the spying in court. But in a victory for civil liberties advocates, the court revived a separate legal attempt to sue the government for the warrantless domestic spying program. A lower court had dismissed the case after the government successfully argued it would jeopardize so-called “state secrets.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which brought the case, hailed the ruling, saying, “The American people may [finally] get a judicial ruling on whether the massive spying done on them since 9/11 is legal or not.”

~ by wheresthemic on December 31, 2011.

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