[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] on Monday issued an order [order, PDF] allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] to continue compiling telephone records of a California-based law firm. Last week a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] against part of the NSA’s controversial surveillance program that collects domestic phone records in bulk. Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] stated that the program was most likely unconstitutional and shut down the program just weeks before the NSA was scheduled to scrap it and replace it. The three-judge panel on Tuesday decided to stay Leon’s decision, stating that the Obama administration had “satisfied the requirements for a stay pending appeal.” Larry Klayman, a conservative activist and attorney who brought the suit against the government, said that he will ask the appeals court to reconsider, and if they decline, will take the case to the US Supreme Court [official website].
On October 30 the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit denied [JURIST report] a motion by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to halt the bulk collection of phone records by the NSA. The court ruled that Congress intended for the agency to continue its data collection over the transition period, and the new legislation was to take effect November 29. In August the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed [JURIST report] a ruling that had blocked the NSA from obtaining call detail records from US citizens. In June 2013 the ACLU, in conjunction with the New York Civil Liberties Union filed suit [JURIST report] against the NSA challenging its phone data collection. The NSA had been collecting mass data under the USA PATRIOT Act since it was signed into law in 2001, but the program was only brought to light in 2013 after leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.