In the wake of a welcome court ruling that NSA mass collection of phone conversations is unconstitutional (see District Court Judge Rules NSA Phone Taps Likely Unconstitutional; 68 Page Ruling Cites “Orwellian Technology” and Unreasonable Searches), comes more welcome news that senator Rand Paul is going to turn up the heat further.

Rand Paul Ponders NSA Class-Action Lawsuit Options

Please consider Rand Paul Plots NSA Class-Action Lawsuit Options

After months of consideration, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is moving closer to filing a lawsuit in federal court against National Security Agency surveillance programs.

A senior Paul staffer says U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s Monday decision that NSA opponents have standing to sue over the bulk collection of phone records makes Paul “much more likely” to file his own lawsuit.

The senior staffer, who spoke with U.S. News on background, says hundreds of thousands of people volunteered online as possible plaintiffs after Paul first floated the idea of a class-action lawsuit in June.

The senator has not firmly decided to file suit and it’s still possible Paul will choose to instead assist with three already-filed lawsuits against the NSA.

If Paul does file a lawsuit it would be the fourth major legal attack against the NSA’s bulk collection and five-year storage of American phone records.

Lawsuits against the phone-record collection are already filed in federal court by the American Civil Liberties Union in New York, by conservative legal activist Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch in Washington, D.C., and by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco.

Klayman won a major victory against the NSA on Monday, with Leon ruling the phone record program is likely a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Leon granted a preliminary injunction barring the collection, but stayed implementation pending appeal.

Unlike the possible Paul lawsuit, Klayman only sought a handful of original plaintiffs. He is seeking for the “class” he represents to be defined by Leon to include all Americans affected by the program, which purportedly helps scuttle terrorist plots – an accomplishment Leon disputed.

The senior Paul staffer stressed that Paul is currently evaluating strategy options. If a lawsuit is filed, it would likely be in either D.C. or Kentucky. It’s unclear which Paul-affiliated entity would file the challenge.

Rand Paul 2016

I salute Rand Paul for his efforts. And as noted on numerous occasions, I also salute U.S. hero Edward Snowden who revealed the unconstitutional data collection efforts.

Finally, I wish Rand Paul well, hoping he wins the Republican nomination, then replaces president Obama as the next president of the United States.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock