Last summer, just hours after President Bush continued his dangerousexpansion of executive powers and signed the “FISA Amendments Act of2008,” legislation that needlessly expanded the government’s ability tospy on it’s own citizens, The Nation joined with the ACLU in a lawsuitchallenging the constitutionality of the act. (Read our original posthere.) We sued on behalf of ourself and two of our contributing writers–Naomi Klein and Chris Hedges–arguing vigorously that as journalists, FISA inhibited our reporting, and put at grave risk brave whistleblowers who seek to come forward and challenge authority.
Our lawsuit–which has been led by a remarkable legal team at the ACLU–is a coalition effort. We’re suing along with Amnesty InternationalUSA, Human Rights Watch, Global Fund for Women, PEN American Center, theWashington Office on Latin America, Service Employees InternationalUnion and several private attorneys. The plaintiffs have one thing incommon: We all challenge the constitutionality of FISA, arguing that itis an illegal–and wholly unnecessary–act that makes us less safe,not more, and erodes our basic values.
Last week, we got our day in court.
Arguing the suit in front of the Southern District of the US DistrictCourt, the ACLU’s attorney representing The Nation and our coalitionfaced tough questioning–both on our standing to bring the suit and themerits itself. Arguments are continuing, but we are hopeful that thesuit will get the green light to move forward, or that the judge willrule in our favor. If it goes to trial, or if the Judge issues a rulingin favor of our petition, this will be a critical moment in the defenseof American civil liberties. We will keep you posted when the judge’sdecision comes down, and on the twists and turns of the proceedings. Three other quick updates from our orbit today:
• Follow me on Twitter! After some hesitancy and soul-searching, I started tweeting last week. While Ican’t promise “more politically incorrect tweets” like former-GovernorPalin, I can promise quick-hit reactions to breaking news; progressivetruth-telling in 140 characters or less, and the occasional personalanecdote. I’m @KatrinaNation; I hope you’ll follow me. Look for breaking reactions this week to developmentson healthcare reform.
• Three upcoming media appearances: I’m on MSNBC’s Morning Joe onTuesday at 7:45AM est; co-hosting MSNBC’s Live with Carlos Watson from11-12 on Wednesday; and part of the GRITTV Media roundtable with The New Yorker‘s Hendrick Hertzberg at noon onThursday. We’ll have video highlights from each.
• Finally, we’ve been fortunate to have scholar and author MelissaHarris-Lacewell as part of our blogging team onThe Notion, and she’s written eloquently about the Henry Louis Gates arrest. For a good listen, check out Melissa’sinterview with Air America’s Ana Marie Cox, about the media uproar andthe racial implications of the Gates arrest.