By Tracy Bloom
Please Address the Court: The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Obama administration over the recent revelation that the National Security Agency is collecting the phone records and Internet data of millions of Americans. According to the ACLU’s lawsuit, that violates the First and Fourth amendments. “The practice is akin to snatching every American’s address book—with annotations detailing whom we spoke to, when we talked, for how long, and from where,” the lawsuit alleges. “It gives the government a comprehensive record of our associations and public movements, revealing a wealth of detail about our familial, political, professional, religious, and intimate associations.” The ACLU previously challenged the FISA Amendment Act while George W. Bush was still president, but the Supreme Court ultimately dismissed it by a 5-4 vote. (Read more)
Popular Opinion: A new Pew Research poll taken amid the National Security Agency’s surveillance controversy reveals that 62 percent of Americans view the government’s ability to investigate terrorism as more important than intruding on personal privacy. A further breakdown shows that a majority of Americans—56 percent—are OK with the government tracking the phone records of millions of people, viewing it as an acceptable anti-terrorist tactic. According to the poll, just 41 percent think it’s unacceptable. However, Americans are more divided when it comes to whether the government should have access to email in order to prevent a terrorist attack. Most—52 percent—think the government shouldn’t be able to retrieve it, while 45 percent are fine with it. The latest findings are mostly unchanged from previous polls. (Read more)
Talk the Talk: Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., delivered a speech on bipartisan immigration reform on the Senate floor Tuesday entirely in Spanish, a first in that chamber’s modern era. Kaine explained during the course of the 14-minute-long address that he wanted to acknowledge the roughly 40 million Spanish speakers in this country. His remarks came immediately after Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced an amendment to the comprehensive immigration reform bill that would require undocumented immigrants to learn English in order to gain permanent U.S. residency. As The Washington Post noted, speaking a language other than English has been a very rare occurrence in the Senate. More from the Post: “According to records kept by the Senate Library, Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) had a 2004 Senate floor speech he delivered in English later translated into Lakota, the language of Sioux tribes. In 2005, Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), who is of Cuban descent, spoke some Spanish while giving floor remarks, and Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) also spoke briefly in Spanish that year.” (Read more)
Dollar Hauler: Even though Michele Bachmann has publicly announced that she is retiring from the House when her term is up, that hasn’t stopped the Republican congresswoman from continuing to raise money. Despite disclosing her plans nearly two weeks ago, Bachmann’s campaign website is still ready to take your donations. It appears the page has not been updated to reflect the fact that Bachmann is no longer seeking re-election as the representative of Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. As Smart Politics notes, it “is not unusual for officeholders to see funds trickle into their accounts after announcing their retirement from public office.” However, Bachmann—who pulled in $678,665 in donations in the first quarter alone of this year—hasn’t exactly ruled out a future race. As she recently told Fox News host Sean Hannity, “I may run for another public office.” (Read more)
Video of the Day: With Jon Stewart gone for 12 weeks to direct his first film, John Oliver officially took over as summer host of “The Daily Show” on Monday night. And the longtime correspondent’s first day at the news desk was anything but slow, despite the fact that Stewart had left him a letter assuring him that no big stories break this time of year. Oliver, who joked that he had planned to begin his first night with some “harmless British jokes,” then naturally started his hosting stint by covering a really big story—the NSA snooping revelations. Oliver took on the secret widespread wiretapping in a new segment called Good News! You’re Not Paranoid.