The Justice Department filed an appeal Friday to overturn a federal judge's ruling that the National Security Agency’s surveillance program is likely unconstitutional.
President Obama, Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderOvernight Tech: Senate moving to kill FCC's internet privacy rules | Bill Gates pushes for foreign aid | Verizon, AT&T pull Google ads | Q&A with IBM's VP for cyber threat intel Uber leadership sticking by CEO Top Dems prep for future while out of the spotlight MORE and NSA Director Keith Alexander formally appealed the Dec. 16 ruling made by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon.
Leon said the scope of the NSA’s operation to collect data on Americans’ phone calls is “almost Orwellian," comparing the program to George Orwell's book 1984.
In the case, Leon ordered the government to stop collecting data on calls from two plaintiffs, including conservative activist Larry Klayman.
A New York District Court Judge, William Pauley, on the other hand, ruled in the last week of December that the NSA’s surveillance activities were legal.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which advocates for citizens’ privacy, formally appealed Pauley’s ruling on Thursday.
Similarly, Sen. Rand PaulRand PaulTrump, GOP fumble chance to govern GOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill Rand Paul takes victory lap on GOP health bill MORE (R-Ky.) has been pushing for months to lead a class action lawsuit against the NSA, charging that the surveillance program has violated people's Fourth Amendment rights.
Paul's office confirmed to The Hill on Friday it will be filing the suit "soon." Breitbart News first reported the news.
The senator has been soliciting people on his website to sign up and join the lawsuit, and has encouraged phone and Internet providers to do the same.
He told CNN in December it would be the first of its kind.
“We have tens of thousands of people who have signed up for it,” Paul told CNN. “We're still exploring the legal aspect of whether we can file a class action suit. When you hear of class action suits, you hear of them mostly on liability. This would be a class action suit on a constitutional question, and it might be the first of its kind if we can file it.”