The Supreme Court on Monday heard oral arguments over a case involving the FBI and the Muslim community.
CBS News reports that the Supreme Court heard arguments brought by three Muslim men against the FBI. The men argued that the federal government spied on them and their Southern California community based on their religion.
With arguments having lasted over two hours, the justices appeared most likely to give a narrow decision in the case, known as FBI v. Fazaga. A federal appeals court allowed the case to move forward, with the federal government asking the high court to review the appeals court’s decision.
CBS News adds that the case, brought in 2011 against the FBI and five agents, “turns on whether a provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) displaces the state-secrets privilege, which was invoked by the federal government in seeking to block the suit.”
Justice Neil Gorsuch told Deputy Solicitor General Edwin Kneedler, who argued for the FBI, that “the problem is that now the government takes a much stronger view of what state-secrets doctrine is,” and that there is a “pretty good argument” that the government was using the state-secrets privilege in order to get the case thrown out.
Justice Stephen Breyer asked, “a plaintiff sues government officials and says: You have unlawfully been wiretapping or surveying, whatever. OK? The government goes back and says: Judge, we have a good reason for doing that wiretapping, and we don't want to tell people what it is. Doesn't the judge — shouldn't he still look to see if they're right?” Breyer added that his point is that there should be a way to look at the information for the court and decide what to do.”
A decision in the case is expected by the summer.
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