The Supreme Court agreed to hear an Obama administration appeal arguing that attorneys, journalists and human rights groups have no right to sue over a law making it easier for intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on foreign communications.
The justices said they would review a ruling by a U.S. appeals court in New York that the plaintiffs have the legal right to proceed with their challenge to a 2008 amendment to the law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
The section at issue allows intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on overseas communications, including phone calls and e-mails, more widely and with less judicial oversight than in the past.
The change meant the U.S. government does not have to submit to a special judge an individualized application to monitor a non-American overseas. Instead, the U.S. attorney general and the director of national intelligence can apply for mass surveillance authorization from the judge.