The challenge was brought by lawyers, journalists and human rights groups who say the law allows the government to intercept their international telephone calls and e-mails. Some of the plaintiffs say they now meet clients or sources only in person.
The government contends that the plaintiffs have not suffered an injury direct enough to give them standing to sue. Last year, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Unites States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, ruled for the plaintiffs on that threshold question.
Judge Gerard E. Lynch, writing for the court, said the plaintiffs had shown that they had a reasonable fear that their sensitive communications would be monitored and had taken “costly measures to avoid being monitored.” That was enough, he wrote, to establish standing to challenge the law as a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. The panel did not rule on the constitutionality of the law.
The full Second Circuit declined to rehear the ruling by a 6-to-6 vote."