The Corner

Federal Judge Rules NSA’s Mass Collection of Phone Data Likely Unconstitutional

U.S. District Court judge Richard Leon ruled on Monday that the NSA’s collection of telephone metadata is probably unconstitutional.

Leon strongly indicated that he will find that the NSA’s practices violate the Fourth Amendments protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. The judge issued a preliminary injunction barring the collection of phone-call records and other “metadata” from the Verizon accounts of the plaintiffs, suggesting he will find the program unconstitutional, but stayed his order to allow for the NSA to appeal.

“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying it and analyzing it without judicial approval,” Leon wrote in his opinion.

This is the first ruling against the NSA since Edward Snowden began leaking information about its programs.