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Federal judge refuses to block state probes of NSA domestic spying

[JURIST] A federal judge Tuesday refused to dismiss [order, PDF] lawsuits brought by several states seeking more information from the federal government about the administration's domestic surveillance program [JURIST news archive]. In his ruling, Judge Vaughn Walker expressed doubt about the merit of the federal government's arguments [JURIST report] that the state-level investigations into the program "are barred by the Supremacy Clause and the foreign affairs power of the federal government." The federal government also sought to have the lawsuits dismissed based on the "state secrets privilege," but Walker refused address that issue before the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has a chance to consider that argument in a separate case. The litigation was filed by five states - Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, and Vermont - on behalf of their citizens whose privacy may have been violated when companies turned over records to the NSA as part of the domestic surveillance program.

In yet another challenge to the domestic surveillance program, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit earlier this month rejected [JURIST report] a lawsuit brought by the ACLU, ruling that the plaintiffs had no standing to file suit. That ruling overturned a lower court decision which found the domestic surveillance program to be unconstitutional [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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