Supreme Court to Determine Whether the FBI Can Be Held Accountable for Secretly Spying on Americans Because of Their Religious Beliefs


Oral Arguments and Post-argument Press Conference Will Be Livestreamed

November 6, 2021

***MEDIA ADVISORY***

Supreme Court to Determine Whether the FBI Can Be Held Accountable for Secretly Spying on Americans Because of Their Religious Beliefs

Oral Arguments and Post-argument Press Conference Will Be Livestreamed

 

FOR PLANNING PURPOSES

November 5, 2021

 

CONTACTS: 

Allegra Harpootlian, 303-748-4051, aharpootlian@aclu.org 

Gabriela Domenzain, ‪213-878-3526, domenzain@law.ucla.edu

Enjy El-Kadi, 714-851-4851, eelkadi@cair.com

Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani, 240-454-5434, adrienne@rethinkmedia.org

 

WHAT: 

On Monday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in FBI v. Fazaga, a landmark case brought by three Muslim Americans challenging the FBI’s secret spying on them and their communities based on their religion, in violation of the Constitution and statutory law. The plaintiffs — Yassir Fazaga, Ali Uddin Malik, and Yasser AbdelRahim — assert that the FBI cannot escape accountability for violating their religious freedom by invoking “state secrets.” 

The case stems from an FBI operation in 2006 and 2007 in which agents sent a paid informant to some of the largest, most diverse mosques in Orange County, California and instructed him to pose as a convert to Islam.  

In addition to the importance of this case for Muslim Americans and religious freedom, the case has profound implications for future challenges to illegal government surveillance. One of the central legal questions in FBI v. Fazaga is about what set of rules controls when the government invokes secrecy in surveillance cases. If the Supreme Court upholds the government’s overbroad claims of secrecy, the government will have every incentive to continue invoking “state secrets'' to conceal abuses and thwart accountability in the courts.

The plaintiffs are represented by the Center for Immigration Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, the ACLU of Southern California, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Council for American Islamic Relations, and the law firm of Hadsell Stormer Renick & Dai.

 

WHO: 

  • Ahilan Arulanantham, Faculty Co-Director of UCLA School of Law’s Center for Immigration Law and Policy and Lead Attorney on FBI v. Fazaga 
  • Sheikh Yassir Fazaga, Plaintiff 
  • Ali Malik, Plaintiff 
  • Yasser AbdelRahim, Plaintiff 
  • Hussam Ayloush, Chief Executive Officer, CAIR-CA and Executive Director, CAIR-LA 
  • Peter Bibring, Senior Counsel, ACLU of Southern California

 

WHEN: 

Monday, November 8, 2021 

Arguments in FBI v. Fazaga begin at 10 a.m. ET 

 

Plaintiffs and attorneys will deliver brief remarks and answer questions outside the courthouse immediately following oral arguments. 

 

WHERE: 

Supreme Court of the United States 

Washington, D.C. 


Audio of the oral arguments will be available here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/live.aspx 

 

Post-argument press conference will be held on the steps of the Supreme Court and livestreamed: https://www.facebook.com/CAIRNational/ 

 

ADDITIONAL INFO:

The case page for FBI v. Fazaga can be found here: https://www.aclu.org/cases/fbi-v-fazaga 

The Supreme Court docket for the case can be found here: https://www.supremecourt.gov/docket/docketfiles/html/public/20-828.html


Founded in 2020, the Center for Immigration Law and Policy (CILP) at the UCLA School of Law expands the law school's role as a national leader in immigration law and policy, generating innovative ideas at the intersection of immigration scholarship and practice and serving as a hub for transforming those ideas into meaningful changes in immigration policy. 

Follow CILP on Twitter @UCLAImmigration, or sign up for additional news at bit.ly/CILPnews.

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