Above the Law: Court Throws Out Warrantless Wiretap Suit

Above the Law: Court Throws Out Warrantless Wiretap Suit | Feds can’t be sued for illegally spying

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has thrown out the only lawsuit ever likely to advance on the federal government’s warrantless wiretapping, declaring in their ruling that the executive branch is above the law in this case.

The lawsuit centered on illegally intercepting lawyers’ telephone calls without judicial approval, and while the court didn’t dispute the previous ruling that the surveillance was against the law, they insisted that no damages could be paid to the plaintiffs.

The ruling says that since Congress never explicitly allowed the government to be sued for damages in this case, no such damages could ever be awarded and that the executive branch has “sovereign immunity” from being sued even for breaking the law.

The lawsuit was a particularly convoluted one, with the Bush Administration accidentally admitting to spying on the lawyers and then classifying the admission after the fact, arguing that there was no evidence it ever happened. The Obama Administration continued the appeals process with the argument that lawsuits against the government in and of themselves are unacceptable unless Congress explicitly allows them. The lawyers had unsuccessfully argued that by making such spying illegal Congress had “implicitly” allowed lawsuits.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • thedissenter

    Not to worry, boyz and girls, our Corporate Supreme Court will surely decide in its favor and rule that all is well in the land of the weak, home of the serf.

    • curmudgeonvt

      Nope!!! My bet is that the Supreme's will not even consider touching this one. The last thing the Archons want is to start peeling back the onion layers around all that was done during the last Administration – when the Constitution was under attack with extreme prejudice.

      • thedissenter

        Yes, thank Ford the attacks on the Constitution have stopped. Hark!

        • curmudgeonvt

          Agreed!! They are just not as heavy-handed now therefore it is more acceptable to those who don't want to have to pay attention. Everything is back to normal and Dancing With the Stars will not be interrupted with boring stuff like…rights and "freedoms".

          • thedissenter

            Some of us beg to differ on that assessment, however, that could very well be explained by the fact that, with the exception of the right to buy arms, there's not much else left in the Constitution that can be violated, trashed or ignored.

          • curmudgeonvt

            Oh, I'm sure that if they want to, they can find much more in the Constitution to invalidate and trash. I also have little faith that the American populace would most likely not complain too loudly – that minority who pay attention excluded.

          • thedissenter

            The Constitution is nothing more than a cheap brand of toilet paper at WalMart and Sam's Club.

          • donjusko

            If you say so, personally I think that's a troll comment.

          • thedissenter

            Troll as defined herein shall be anyone whose opinion you don't like, don't agree with or can't understand.

            By the way, that's a priceless comment from someone whose Avatar is a picture of a turd with forked tongue with a yellow background (the color of cowardice). LOL! I guess your Kock bros. masters didn't bother to explain that to you, eh?

          • Johnny_Warbucks

            Jealous or simply clueless?

  • Mark

    Just another brick in the wall…

  • Tom Hagen

    Sovereign immunity? Did they pull that out of John Woo's ass?

  • MoT

    So in order to have a lawsuit move forward the accused must "allow" it? Well, who would be surprised at this corrupt turn of events?

  • carroll price

    As a man of principle, Socrates addressed the art of legal sophistry and had nothing good to say about it. Neither does any other man or woman of principle.

  • J. J.

    The “sovereign immunity” must be removed from all government positions in order to remove the criminal element and act from politics. Clean up Washington DC, remove “sovereign immunity” from politicians get out of jail card free play book. Why would we keep a bunch of Foxes in our chicken house, just don't make sense as history proves over and over again.

  • James P. Hilton

    What's there to discuss?

    What the government is essentially saying is this:

    "We have decided to appoint ourselves as the new "sovereigns" or kings and at the same time have reduced "you" the people (once proud American Citizens) to voiceless peasants on our new plantation.

    You don't like it you say? Well we say: tough luck! "

    So much for all the big "change" we were promised. Just another manure salesman. The only change we got was a new "sovereign" living like a king in The White House.