Tuesday, February 26, 2013

US Court Cases Upholding Foreign Affairs Powers

Federal courts in the United States today issued two decisions which support the federal government's power over foreign affairs and continue the courts' hands off approach when it comes to foreign affairs.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision finding that various news reporters, defense attorneys, human rights organizations and others do not have standing to challenge the constitutionality of the government's warrantless wiretapping program, authorized by the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In the case of Clapper v. Amnesty International, No. 11-1025, the majority of the Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs' assertions of injury as a result of likely surveillance under the wiretapping program due to the nature of the plaintiffs' activities were too speculative to constitute an "injury".   

In another case, a U.S. District Court held that President Obama has the authority to require Chinese investors to sell their interests in certain wind turbine farms in the Pacific Northwest because of unspecified national security concerns arising from the proximity to a U.S. Navy installation.  The President issued his divestiture order pursuant to Section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950.  The judge held that the Act prohibits judicial review of the President's order. However, the court will allow Ralls Corporation to continue to pursue its related claim that it is being deprived of property without due process of law because the government did not follow proper procedures under section 721.



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