FISA: 215 Collection

DOJ Files Motion to Vacate Preliminary Injunction and Dismiss in Klayman v. Obama

By Susan Hennessey
Monday, January 4, 2016, 12:41 PM

This morning, the government filed a motion to vacate the preliminary injunction in Klayman and to dismiss the appeal as moot.

Earlier this year, Congress passed legislation—the USA FREEDOM Act, Pub. L. No. 114-23, 129 Stat. 268 (2015)—that authorized the continuation of the program during a 180-day transition period, which ended as of November 28, 2015. After that date, the statutory and judicial authority for the former program ended, bulk collection of telephony metadata under Section 215 has ceased, analytic queries of such previously-collected metadata has likewise ended, and the government has transitioned to a new intelligence program based on targeted rather than bulk collection of telephony metadata. The district court here entered a preliminary injunction prohibiting the government from bulk collection under Section 215 of telephony metadata associated with the telephone subscriptions of two plaintiffs in this case, and requiring the government to segregate any such metadata already collected from any future “searches,” as the court described the queries, during the 180-day transition period before the new mechanism for targeted production of call-detail records is implemented. The government appealed from that injunction. Because of the change in the law, and the ensuing change in the government’s practices, the injunction entered by the district court no longer serves any valid purpose and should be vacated. Once the injunction is vacated, the government’s appeal should be dismissed as moot.

As a refresher, some previous coverage of Klayman v. Obama can be found here, here, here, and here.